To register a work, send the following three elements in the same envelope or package to:
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20559-6000
1. A properly completed application form.
2. A nonrefundable filing fee* for each application.
3. A nonreturnable deposit of the work being registered. The deposit requirements vary in particular situations. The general requirements follow. Also note the information under “Special Deposit Requirements.”
- If the work was first published in the United States on or after January 1, 1978, two complete copies or phonorecords of the best edition.
- If the work was first published in the United States before January 1, 1978, two complete copies or phonorecords of the work as first published.
- If the work was first published outside the United States, one complete copy or phonorecord of the work as first published.
- If sending multiple works, all applications, deposits, and fees should be sent in the same package. If possible, applications should be attached to the appropriate deposit. Whenever possible, number each package (e.g., 1 of 3, 2 of 4) to facilitate processing.
What Happens if the Three Elements Are Not Received Together
Applications and fees received without appropriate copies, phonorecords, or identifying material will not be processed and ordinarily will be returned. Unpublished deposits without applications or fees ordinarily will be returned, also. In most cases, published deposits received without applications and fees can be immediately transferred to the collections of the Library of Congress. This practice is in accordance with section 408 of the law, which provides that the published deposit required for the collections of the Library of Congress may be used for registration only if the deposit is “accompanied by the prescribed application and fee.”
After the deposit is received and transferred to another service unit of the Library for its collections or other disposition, it is no longer available to the Copyright Office. If you wish to register the work, you must deposit additional copies or phonorecords with your application and fee.
To register a renewal, send:
- A properly completed application Form RE and, if necessary, Form RE Addendum, and
- A nonrefundable filing fee for each application. (*See Note above.)
NOTE: Complete the application form using black ink pen or type. You may photocopy blank application forms. However, photocopied forms submitted to the Copyright Office must be clear, legible, on a good grade of 8V * 11" white paper suitable for automatic feeding through a photocopier. The forms should be printed, preferably in black ink, head-to-head so that when you turn the sheet over, the top of page 2 is directly behind the top of page 1. Forms not meeting these requirements may be returned resulting in delayed registration.
Preregistration is a service intended for works that have had a history of prerelease infringement. To be eligible for preregistration, a work must be unpublished and must be in the process of being prepared for commercial distribution. It must also fall within a class of works determined by the Register of Copyrights to have had a history of infringement prior to authorized commercial distribution. Preregistration is not a substitute for registration. The preregistration application is only available online.
Special Deposit Requirements
Special deposit requirements exist for many types of works. The following are prominent examples of exceptions to the general deposit requirements:
- If the work is a motion picture, the deposit requirement is one complete copy of the unpublished or published motion picture and a separate written description of its contents, such as a continuity, press book, or synopsis.
- If the work is a literary, dramatic, or musical work published only in a phonorecord, the deposit requirement is one complete phonorecord.
- If the work is an unpublished or published computer program, the deposit requirement is one visually perceptible copy in source code of the first 25 and last 25 pages of the program. For a program of fewer than 50 pages, the deposit is a copy of the entire program. For more information on computer program registration, including deposits for revised programs and provisions for trade secrets, request Circular 61, Copyright Registration for Computer Programs [Circular 61 temporarily unavailable].
- If the work is in a CD-ROM format, the deposit requirement is one complete copy of the material, that is, the CD-ROM, the operating software, and any manual(s) accompanying it. If registration is sought for the computer program on the CD-ROM, the deposit should also include a printout of the first 25 and last 25 pages of source code for the program.
If you are unsure of the deposit requirement for your work, write or call the Copyright Office and describe the work you wish to register.
Under the following conditions, a work may be registered in unpublished form as a “collection,” with one application form and one fee:
- The elements of the collection are assembled in an orderly form;
- The combined elements bear a single title identifying the collection as a whole;
- The copyright claimant in all the elements and in the collection as a whole is the same; and
- All the elements are by the same author, or, if they are by different authors, at least one of the authors has contributed copyrightable authorship to each element.
NOTE: A Library of Congress Control Number is different from a copyright registration number. The Cataloging in Publication (CIP) Division of the Library of Congress is responsible for assigning LC Control Numbers and is operationally separate from the Copyright Office. A book may be registered in or deposited with the Copyright Office but not necessarily cataloged and added to the Library’s collections.
For information about obtaining an LC Control Number, see the following website: http://pcn.loc.gov/pcn. For information on International Standard Book Numbering (ISBN), write to:
630 Central Ave.
New Providence, NJ 07974
For further information and to apply online, see www.isbn.org. For information on International Standard Serial Numbering (ISSN), write to:
National Serials Data Program
Serial Record Division
Washington, DC 20540-4160
Or obtain information from www.loc.gov/issn.
What Is Copyright?
Who Can Claim Copyright?
-----Copyright and National Origin of the Work
What Works Are Protected?
What Is Not Protected by Copyright?
How to Secure Copyright
Notice of Copyright
-----Form of Notice for Visually Perceptible Copies
-----Form of Notice for Phonorecords of Sound Recordings
-----Position of Notice
-----Publications Incorporating U.S. Government Works
-----Omission of Notice and Errors in Notice
How Long Copyright Protection Endures
Transfer of Copyright
-----Termination of Transfers
International Copyright Protection
-----Special Deposit Requirements
Effective Date of Registration
Corrections and Amplifications of Existing Registrations
Mandatory Deposit for Works Published in the United States
Use of Mandatory Deposit to Satisfy Registration Requirements
Who May File an Application Form?
-----Fill-in Forms Available
Search of Copyright Office Records
For Further Information
Source: U.S. Copyright Office
Revised July 2006