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What is Required for Copyright Registration?

By Felicia Dye
Updated Jan 28, 2024
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A copyright is legal recognition of the creator of certain materials, such as written works, artwork, and musical productions. Copyright registration is not necessary for a person to protect her rights or to claim remedies if her rights are violated, but having a registered copyright can provide added protection. Copyright registration can vary from one place to another. In the United States (US), a person must fill out the required forms, send a copy of her work to the Library of Congress, and pay a fee.

The first thing a person should do if she is interested in copyright registration is to make sure the work is hers. In many cases, creations that are done while a person is an employee actually belong to the employer. If a person is sure she owns the work, she can proceed registering her copyright with the Library of Congress.

In some instances, registration can be done online. When creations are registered online, a person needs to use the eCO online system. She will need to fill out an online form. If it is possible, she will upload a copy of her work, and she will be required to pay a fee. This method is generally faster than sending packages to the Library of Congress.

In some instances, it may be preferable to utilize postal services to register a copyright. Generally, when this is the case, a person will need to fill out a CO form, which she can obtain online. Any form sent to the Library of Congress should be printed in black ink and it should be printed on both sides.

There are special forms that can be used for specific types of creations, such as an SR form for sound recordings, but these are not always required. Some type of creations, however, require special applications. Newsletters and newspapers are an example. A person should check online with the US Copyright Office to determine specific requirements for the type of work for which she is seeking registration.

When the application is sent, a deposit should also be sent. Deposit refers to a copy of the creation that is to be registered. There may be special requirements for these, too. For example, colorful works should be sent in a manner that represents the true colors of the original. A deposit requires the inclusion of a shipping slip.

Additionally, a person must pay the fee for copyright registration. This is done at the time the application is sent, not when it is approved. All materials sent to the Library of Congress through the mail should be sent together when they pertain to a single creation. Each creation, however, should be handled separately.

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