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Registering Previously Published Poems

Full Question: I am an author. I was advised by my publisher to register my own copyright for a book that I wrote, which I did. Several poems from the book were previously published in literary journals prior to the book’s publication. On my certificate of registration, the Copyright Office lists “previously published works” as “material excluded from this claim”. Must the previously published poems be registered individually? Aside from cost, some of the print journals they appeared in no longer exist or copies of the issues they appeared in are no longer available. If the previously published poem appeared in a blog or electronic publication, how is that registered?

Answer: Yes, the previously published poems must be excluded from the claim and each registered individually. If the original work in which the poems were published is no longer available, you may submit a request for special relief from the deposit requirement together with the application, fee, and alternative deposit. For more information on special relief, please refer to 37 C.F.R. ¤ 202.20(d), and Compendium (Third) ¤1508.8.

Answered by:

Rob Kasunic, Director of Registration Policy and Practices at the U.S. Copyright Office.