Copyrightability of Websites?

Yes, websites are registrable to the extent the text, artwork, music, audiovisual material, sound recordings contain original works of authorship.  35 USC 102 (a).  However, registration of a website is limited to the copyrightable work received by the copyright office and claimed in the application.  Copyright law will exclude matter previously in the public domain or previously registered by others from your application. 

On the other hand, online automated databases available on your website may be entitled to copyright protection for the entire content they cover, even though, only a portion of the automated databases is submitted in the copyright application.  In copyright applications for websites and computer programs, identifying all graphics, text format, and program codes (such as html) is extremely important to ensure proper scope of copyright protection to a website owner. 

Revisions or updates of websites often have to be re-registered to ensure proper protection. However, group registration may be available for weekly emails or newsletters displayed by a website owner.  Understanding the nuances of how copyright law and the copyright office registers and protects a website owner is crucial to ensuring that you or your business is able to properly stake out the boundaries of its territory on the internet.

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