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Short Online Works Soon Eligible for Group Copyright Protection

We’ve got some great news for all you bloggers out there: as of August 17, 2020, bloggers will be able to apply for copyrights for up to fifty short works on a single application for the low-low price of $65.

To qualify for this option, each [of the works sought to be registered] must contain at least 50 words but no more than 17,500 words [about 70 typed pages]. The works must be created by the same individual, or jointly by the same individuals, and each creator must be named as the copyright claimant or claimants for each work…. [T]he applicant may submit up to 50 works with one application and one filing fee … and [must] upload a .ZIP file containing a separate digital file for each work…. [T]he registration will cover each work as a separate work of authorship.

Mitch Tuchman of Morningstar Law Group gives a great rundown over on his blog.

According to Mitch, in order to be eligible, “all works in a group application must have been published online within a three-month calendar period. No works for hire—i.e., works created by employees within the scope of employment or other strictly delimited circumstances—can be included.* Claims for illustrations, graphs or computer programs are disallowed.”

Blogging started out as a great way for writers to voice their opinions and publish their art without having to navigate gate keepers. Authors who used blogs to pen stories in installments were able to get feedback on the stories from readers in real-time and satisfy (or subvert!) expectations.

Questions around what qualified as “published” followed soon after. Many literary journals and publishers weren’t interested in publishing work that had first appeared on a blog. As a result, authors needed to be careful when and where their work appeared, if they were holding out hope that the same work might appear in a more traditional outlet.

Now, of course, blogs are big business. Many organizations have their own, and many authors have turned their blogs into traditional publishing deals.

“The applicability of group registration to blogs, newsletters, even social media posts has been unclear,” Mitch says. “Hats off to the Copyright Office for making this effort to facilitate registration for busy bloggers or prolific social media posters.”

Got questions? Morningstar Law Group is happy to help. Contact them here.


*Sigh. And here I’d harbored hopes of turning the Network’s blog into a movie deal. Guess I really am writing all these blog posts only for The Man…