Last month the United States Copyright Office published changes to the registration polices for groups of published photographs using the Electronic Copyright Office or eCO. Previously, only individual published photographs or groups of published photographs “in the same unit of publication” were eligible for registration using eCO. The new regulation allows groups of published photographs to be registered using eCO.
ASMP has discovered an issue of concern about the process. In the registration interface, if an applicant selects “published” when prompted for published or unpublished work, he or she is asked for a specific date (day-month-year) of publication rather than having a field that allows multiple dates which would be required for groups of photographs published on different dates. ASMP believes that if an applicant registers a group of published images first published on different dates and only entered a single date it could lead to an invalid registration if the registration is subject to review in a copyright infringement claim. Because of this, ASMP currently recommends that its members do not use the eCO system for registering groups of published photographs first published on different dates. We will be meeting with Copyright Office officials in the coming weeks to see if this matter can be resolved and advise on our findings.