A work created by multiple authors. To the extent that the contribution of an author is segregable, for example an article in a magazine, the author enjoys a separate copyright in that contribution, and the owner of the collective work a license limited to use of the author’s contribution in the collective work. If the contributions are not segregable, the work is considered as one of joint authorship and ownership of the work usually depends on the agreement between the authors or with their employer. The US statutory definition of collective work is different from the common understanding in some respects, in that it does not encompass joint works, and rather is defined at 17 USC §101 as:
A “collective work” is a work, such as a periodical issue, anthology, or encyclopedia, in which a number of contributions, constituting separate and independent works in themselves, are assembled into a collective whole.