Authors Alliance Submits Comments to USCO on the Meaning of Publication in the Online Context

Posted March 20, 2020
Photo by Luis VIllafranca on Unsplash

Authors Alliance has submitted comments to the U.S. Copyright Office in response to its request for public input on the meaning of “publication” in the online context. The Office sought comments to support its effort to provide additional guidance regarding the determination of a work’s publication status for registration purposes.

Our comment encourages the Office to promulgate a regulation to allow applicants to identify a work as having been first “published” online. In the Internet age, distribution through online, digital, and electronic channels is the primary primary means by which copyrightable content reaches the public at large, and has eclipsed if not eliminated many traditional, non-electronic forms of distribution. There is no reason why applicants should not have the option to specify such a widespread mechanism of distribution as the means by which their works were published.

We further encourage the Copyright Office to adopt guidance that “publication” occurs when a work is first offered, under the rights-owner’s authority, for viewing online without technological restrictions that prevent downloading or other reuse. To do so would add much needed clarity and promote broader use of copyrightable works.

Authors Alliance thanks the exceptional team at Latham & Watkins for preparing these comments. To read the full comment, click here.