Copyright Registration Process

The copyright registration process consists of filling out an application form, paying a nonrefundable filing fee, and submitting two copies of the work to be registered. The copies of the work that seeks copyright protection should be submitted with every application. They will not be returned to the applicant, but rather deposited in the library of the Copyright Office. All registered works as well as the information of their owners become a part of the public record. They will be searchable online and available for public view. Accordingly, copyright registration is not a suitable process for works which are a part of someone’s trade secret (for example, a unique source code of a computer program) or if the owners want to maintain confidentiality for other reasons.

The application for registration can be filled out online or on paper. During the review process a Copyright Office staff member may issue a request for additional evidence if more information is needed. All correspondence from the Copyright Office will contain a date by which response must be submitted. This deadline is strictly observed; there are no exceptions. Once the review process is over and all questions are promptly addressed, the Copyright Office issues either a certificate of registration, which grants the copyright protection rights, or a rejection letter explaining why the application was denied.

It is advisable to submit an application for registration and all relevant documentation online through the electronic Copyright Office or the eCO system unless a paper application is required in a particular case (some works can be submitted only on paper applications). Online registration is time efficient, has a lower filing fee than a paper-based application, has an online tracking system for the status of the application, and has an easier deposit procedure. Paper forms can be found online on the Copyright Office website, printed out, filled, and mailed to the Office along with a check or money order and two copies of each work to be registered. Please note that different forms of the application may be required depending on the nature of the work.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.