Why File for Copyright?
Current copyright law automatically acknowledges the author as the owner of the intellectual property he/she produces.
No formal filing is required. However, by formally registering copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, a public record of
copyright ownership is established, and enables the owner to pursue legal action in the case of copyright infringement
and collect punitive damages in a court of law.
Methods for Filing for Copyright
You may file for copyright using a paper form, or, if the work meets certain criteria, copyright registration may
be completed by filing electronically. Filing electronically is less expensive and backlogs and delays associated with
paper filing are avoided. It is possible to file electronically and send in a hard copy of your publication to meet the
deposit requirement as needed.
Paper Form Registration
Circular 01: Copyright Basics
(pages 8-10) identifies works that require
copyright registration using a paper
- Form CA to correct or amplify information in a registration.
- Form D-VH to register vessel hull designed
- Form MW to register mask works
- Form GATT to register work for which U.S. Copyright was restored under the 1994 Uruguay Round Agreements Act
- Form RE to renew copyright claims
- Forms for group submissions
Forms for paper filing can be found by
clicking on the link. Instructions are
provided as part of the paper forms.
Home page for Electronic Copyright Registration
eCO FAQs (Recommended reading before starting the
- Basic works defined
- Technical Requirements for filing with eCO
- Defines the kind of claims that can be registered in eCO
- Class of works that can be registered in eCO with electronic deposit copies
Electronic Copyright Filing Tutorial
This tutorial provides step by step instructions for using the eCO
registration tool and is available as a power point presentation or
in pdf format.
Technical Issues related to Electronic Filing.
- An email address is required to establish an account
- eCO System is compatible with Internet Explorer and
Firefox (Windows or MAC)
- Do NOT use Google Chrome or Safari to register with
the eCO system.
- Disable Pop-up Blockers
- Disable Third-Party Toolbars
- Acceptable file formats
- If filing electronically, information links are embedded in the registration form to assist you with selecting the appropriate option for your publication.
Start your registration online by creating an account.
Single and Standard Forms: Users are walked through a series of three yes or no questions to help them determine
whether the single format or standard format filing is appropriate.
- Single Format: single author, claimant same as author, one work, not for hire
- Standard Format: All other filings
Key Pieces of Information You Need to Register Your Work:
- Type of Work (e.g. literary work, sound recording, work of the visual arts)
- Title of Work
- Has the work been published (yes/no)
- If yes, date of first publication
- If no, the completion date
- ISBN or ISSN if applicable
- Nation of first publication
- Author(s): person or organization
- Is this a work for hire?
- Identify author’s contribution: Identify information provided by author
- Claimant (copyright owner) : name and address
- Limitation of Claim: Identify pre-existing information contained in your manuscript.
- Rights & Permissions
- Correspondent and contact information
- Mailing address for Copyright Certificate
Copyright Filing Fees (as of May 14, 2014)
Single Application: $35.00
Standard Application: $55.00
Paper Registration Filing: $85.00
Required for Form TX, Form VA, Form PA, Form SE and Form SR
For the entire registration fee structure see Copyright Office Fees. More detailed information can be found in
Circular 4, Copyright Office Fees.
Deposit Requirements for Paper and Electronic Filing:
Text from: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl109.html
Deposit requirements for unpublished works: One complete copy of the manuscript or phonorecord is required.
o If you file electronically, you may submit your deposit electronically (See sl-35) or in paper format.
o If you file using a paper application or submit a hard-copy deposit for an unpublished manuscript:
- There are not any specific requirements for the manuscript material regarding the printing, binding, format,
or paper size and quality of the copy you deposit.
- Typewritten, photocopied, and legibly handwritten manuscripts (preferably in ink) are all acceptable.
- Because deposit material represents the entire copyrightable content of a work submitted for registration,
copies deposited in a format that facilitate handling and long-term storage (for example, stapled, bound, or
clipped material) are greatly appreciated by the Copyright Office.
Deposit requirements for published works: one or two copies required based on date of publication.
o For a work first published in the United States on or after January 1, 1978: provide two complete copies or
phonorecords of the “best edition” as defined in Circular 7B should be deposited.
o For a work first published outside the United States: provide one complete copy or phonorecord of the work as
o If the work is a contribution to a collective work, and published after January 1, 1978: provide one complete copy
or phonorecord of the “best edition” of the collective work or a photocopy of the contribution itself as it was
published in the collective work.
Detailed information on mandatory deposits is available in Circular 7D.
Sources of Additional Information
The definitive source on copyright registration information can be found on the U.S. Copyright Office website.
- Factsheets address specific topics with regard to copyright including information on Fair Use,
Copyright Registration of specific types works including Poetry, Games, Photographs, Dramatic Works,
Online Works, and Books, Manuscripts, Speeches, etc.
- Circulars and Brochures address specific information related to the copyright registration process.
You may also contact the U.S. Copyright Office you have additional questions.
For further assistance, please contact Valerie Emerson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202 994-2041.