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Copyright Office

Copyright protection NO LONGER holds requirements- copyright registration, deposit, and notice
(Registration and notice are optional)



-copyright ownership were recorded by clerks of the US District Courts
-library of Congress now has the responsibility of handling copyright registrations



the US Copyright Office was formed as a department of the Library of Congress
-also deals with wills, mortgages, assignments, and security interests


The office

-Advises Congress on anticipated changes in the US copyright law and compliance with international treaties
-Analyzes and assists in drafting copyright legislation
-Conducts studies for Congress on copyright matters
-Provides assistance to foreign countries in developing their CL


Section 701(a)

person responsible for the overall direction of the Copyright Office is the Register of Copyrights, appointed by Library of Congress


Divisions of Copyright Office

1. Receipt Analysis and Control Division
2. Registration Program
3. Information and Records Division
4. Licensing Division
5. Copyright Acquisitions Division


Receipt Analysis and Control

responsible for receiving materials such as registration applications and transfer documents for recordation.


Registration Program

Consists of 3 divisions- Literary, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts- examines registration and renewal applications and any accompanying materials such as deposit copies


Information and Records Division

responsible for educating the office staff and public-prepares search reports upon request- prepares certifications-processes recordation of transfer documents


Licensing Division

responsible for carrying out compulsory license provisions of the copyright act such as the compulsory license for making and distributing


Copyright Acquisitions Division

administers the mandatory deposit provisions and issues demands for published works that have not been deposited


Copyright Office Records

The Copyright Card Catalog consists of over 40 million individual cards (1870-1977)
Prior to 1978- located in the reading room
Also can search the Assignment and Related Documents Index


What is copyright registration?

You DO NOT have to register the work in order to own a copyright to a work.
Section 408 of the CA provides for an optional registration system.
Just because someone registers, as the owner doesn’t mean they are


Why should I register?

Cheap form of insurance
-Registration creates a public record of your claim of copyright ownership
-Registration provides what is legally known as prima facie (at first sight) evidence of ownership
-Registration gives the copyright owner the ability to file suit
-Early registration entitles the copyright owner to attorney’s fees and statutory damages
-Registration allows copyright owners to collect mechanical license royalties
-Registration allows copyright owners to block importation of illegal copies


Who can register?

Anyone who owns all or part of the exclusive rights to a copyrighted work
Any of the work’s authors
Any party that acquires ownership of any of the exclusive rights
ONLY one registration is needed to protect all owners


Why should I register?

A work can be registered at any time during its term of copyright
Register within 3 months after the works publication in order to receive statutory damages and attorney’s fees
Fee- $35-$65


How to register?

File an application with the Electronic Copyright Office online system
Submit a paper application form to the CLO
App must include:
-A completed app form
-Submission of deposit
-App fee



Fastest-least expensive
80% are processed this way
Processing time-3 months
Paper- 11 months
Only $35


Form CO

Fill-in form
2-D barcode scanning
CANNOT be used for group registrations
Complete online and print
Cannot be saved and reused


Paper Forms

Some works can ONLY be registered this way
PA- performing arts, prepared to be performed directly in front of an audience-musical works, dramatic works, choreographic works, motion pictures, audiovisual works
SR- sound recordings- on or after February 15, 1972- before this are not protected
Does NOT protect any musical, literary, or dramatic works on the recording
TX- nondramatic musical works-written works, song lyrics
VA- works of the visual arts-pictorial, graphic, sculpture, and album cover


Short forms-only

used if there is ONLY one author and owner of the work, the work is not a work made for hire, the work is completely new, form is signed by the works author



-can be obtained at the CLO by phone, mail, or online
-Lies on an app form is subject to a fine of $2500
-Work has more than 3 authors use Continuation Sheet
-Authors DOB is not required, but the date of death is, unless anonymous
Nationality or domicile is MANDATORY
-App MUST be signed by any of these people:
-Author, copyright claimant other than an author, owner of exclusive rights, authorized agent
-Check payable to Register of Copyrights


Creation Date

Year in which the work was first fixed in tangible form


Limitation of Claim

If any part of the work has been registered



5 days- only if registration is needed for litigation, to meet a contractual or publishing deadline, or some other urgent reason
$760 plus app fee



does NOT resolve disputes over ownership of work-response within 6 months


Date of registration

the date when CLO receives all the required materials


Request for correction

within 120 days- failure to sign, failure to enclose, failure to provide, failure to adequately describe the authorship of work, checking work for hire box, failure to specify how ownership was transferred, failure to describe new material in derivative


Denying Registration

Rarely happens, will grant registration even if CLO has reasonable doubt of the copyright ability of the work


When can you correct or supplement info in a previous registration?

using Form CA
Change of address, claimants name, and title of work, author or claimant omitted from original

-NO valid alternatives to registration