When applying for a copyright, there are always certain deposit requirements. These requirements vary from work to work and are very specific. The U.S. Copyright Office has general submission guidelines for the most common types of materials, but they also have special deposit requirements for unusual materials or typical materials in atypical formats. While most people who desire a copyright will never have to worry about falling into one of these special deposit requirement categories, it is wise to know what the exceptions are before applying. If you submit your application incorrectly, the request will not be successful, which will cost you precious time and require another submission and filing fee. While the following list isn’t exhaustive, it will give you an idea of the kind of material that has exceptions, as well as detailing some of the most common exceptions out there.
General Material Guidelines
To better understand what materials fall into unusual categories, you should be familiar with the regular categories that the U.S. Copyright Office defines. Nearly all the material that is copyrighted is one of the following:
Remember that only some of the deposits can be returned. Always submit a copy of the work.
Other Types of Materials
While the above list of copyrightable materials may seem extensive, there are hundreds of types of works that do not fall into any of these categories. These are just the most common materials that are submitted for copyrighting. Do not assume your work cannot be copyrighted because it is not in one of the previous mediums. It is possible to copyright computer programs, video games, toys, databases, fabrics, and others. Each of these types of materials has unique deposit requirements.
Special Deposit Exceptions
It is your responsibility to know if your material requires a special deposit. Familiarize yourself with the qualifications for deposit exceptions in your category of material. The requirements for some of the most common exceptions are
Making sense of deposit requirements is one of the most difficult parts of seeking a copyright. Even if it seems like the material you wish to copyright seems straightforward, there is no simple way to ensure you are not unknowingly falling into a special deposit category. It is almost always a wise decision to consult a copyright attorney before you begin the process of applying for registration. A professional will be able to advise what is required of you, warn you of any unusual requirements, and provide general advice for the rest of the submission process as well.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.