Copyright Registration FAQ
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed December 22, 2016
Q: How will I know if my application was received by the U.S. Copyright Office?
A: You will not receive an acknowledgment that your application has been received because the Office receives more than 600,000 applications annually. However, if your application is in order, you may generally expect to receive within approximately 4 to 5 months of submission a certificate of registration to indicate the work has been registered. If the Office must correspond with you or if further information is needed, it will take longer to process your application. If the application cannot be accepted, you will receive a letter explaining why it has been rejected.
Q: What is the status of my application?
A: The U.S. Copyright Office cannot provide free written information about the status of applications that have been in the Copyright Office less than 6 months. If you must have this information confirmed in writing, contact the Certifications and Documents Section at (202) 707-6787. This Section can provide the information upon payment of applicable fees. If a claim is older than 6 months, the Office will do an in-process search without charge to determine why the certificate has been delayed.
Q: When is my registration effective?
A: A copyright registration is effective on the date that all the required elements (application, fee, and deposit) are received in acceptable form in the U.S. Copyright Office, regardless of the length of time it takes the Copyright Office to process the application and mail the certificate of registration. You do not have to receive your certificate before you publish or produce your work, nor do you need permission from the Copyright Office to place a notice of copyright on your material.
Q: How do I mail material to the U.S. Copyright Office?
A: Use the following address when sending mail to the U.S. Copyright Office:
Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20559-6000
Include your daytime telephone number, email address, and fax number (if available). Make certain to send your nonrefundable filing fee, completed application form, and nonreturnable deposit (copies, phonorecords, or identifying material) in the same package.
Q: Will my deposit be damaged by security measures in place on Capitol Hill?
A: To avoid damage to your deposit caused by necessary security measures, package the following items in boxes rather than envelopes for mailing to the Copyright Office: electronic media such as audiocassettes, videocassettes, CDs, and DVDs; microform; photographs; slick advertisements, color photocopies, and other print items that are rubber- and vegetable-based.
Q: How many forms may I receive?
A: The U.S. Copyright Office does not send unlimited quantities of its application forms and publications. If you need additional application forms or circulars, you may order a limited supply by calling the Copyright Office Forms and Publications Hotline anytime day or night at (202) 707-9100 and leaving a message on the recorder. Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery of your order. All Copyright Office application forms are available on the Internet and may be printed. Access and download forms from the Copyright Office Website. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view and print the forms. The free Adobe Acrobat Reader may be downloaded from Adobe Systems Incorporated through links from the Copyright Office website.
Q: How can I see a record of my copyright registrations?
A:On the Internet, you may view the official record of your copyright registrations that have been made since Jan. 1, 1978. Connect to the U.S. Copyright Office Website and click on "Search Copyright Records" and follow the instructions. Note: It may take 2 or 3 months after you receive your certificate for your registration to appear in these permanent files.
Was this helpful?
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Contact a qualified business attorney to help you identify how to best protect your business' intellectual property.