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When we register a book for copyright, do we need to apply for separate copyright registration for the photos in the book?

And how about the front and back cover, can we add those to the pdf file of the book itself? I got conflicting answers on this and want to know if there are anybody with experience.

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  • I assume you're asking about the United States and registering with the U.S. Copyright Office? Copyright law does vary a little around the world, and many countries have no concept of copyright registration. Also, are the photos taken by the author of the book, or were they pre-existing photos that have been licensed, or specially commissioned?
    – Stuart F
    Jun 8, 2023 at 12:36
  • And how about the front and back cover, can we add those to the pdf file of the book itself? - are you still talking about copyright registration? Or publication?
    – Stuart F
    Jun 8, 2023 at 12:38
  • I am going to suppose these sort of questions are better asked in a place where people are knowledgeable about the law. Generally speaking, my own bias is to treat the entire publication and all its parts as belonging to the copyright holder. But then, I'm old fashioned that way.
    – Boba Fit
    Jun 8, 2023 at 13:00
  • Yes I own all the photos. and yes about US. I am asking experiences if any
    – upstream
    Jun 8, 2023 at 14:13

1 Answer 1

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When we register a book for copyright, do we need to apply for separate copyright registration for the photos in the book?

YES, they are separate

Text and photographs are separate applications (although each may use the 'standard application', if appropriate).

The USCO has information, sample applications, and video tutorials for the different types of works:

https://www.copyright.gov/registration/#types-of-works

I could not find a FAQ or article that answers your question perfectly or I would provide a direct link (there may be one, but I stopped looking).

The photographs can be registered as a group, again assuming they have never been published. Previously published photos require a different application, and you cannot mix published/unpublished photos in the same group application.

There may be reasons to register the cover art separately. But if it uses one or more of the photographs, it makes sense to simply copyright those photos along with the rest. Each application costs money, and presumably the photos would be the important part of the cover art (not the typography and blurbs, which may not be yours). A second printing may re-work the cover art, and the photos used for the cover would still be protected.

If the book is already published, or about to be published, there is a short window (3 months) where the works can still be registered and be eligible for certain extra protections.

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  • They said I do not need to submit separate application but I had asked here anyway
    – upstream
    Jun 22, 2023 at 17:56

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