The Copyright Office has an e-filing system called eCO (electronic Copyright Office). This system allows on-line registration of claims to copyright, and gives you the lowest registration fee combined with significant reductions in time delays to receive the certificate of registration. The system is relatively easy to use - it is probably more complicated to set up the account to let you use it, than to use it once you're set up - and we recommend that our clients use eCO if they can.
For more information, and access to eCO, see the Copyright Office's eCO page.
Traditional Paper Forms
The old paper forms are still available in PDF format from the Copyright office website. If you're going to file on paper, be sure to use the correct form for the type of work you are registering:
- Form TX for "Nondramatic Literary Works" - any text work, including computer programs.
- Form VA for "Visual Arts" works - pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, architectural works, and the like.
- Form PA for works of the "Performing Arts" - musical and dramatic works, pantomimes and choreography, motion pictures and videos and other audiovisual work.
- Form SR for "Sound Recordings" - allows registration of copyright to the music recorded at the same time.
- Form RE for renewal of copyright in works registered under the 1909 Copyright Act (in effect prior to January 1, 1978). Renewal is not required for works created after January 1, 1978.
- Form CA for supplemental registration to correct or amplify information provided to the Copyright Office in an earlier registration.
- Form GR/CP an adjunct application to be used for registration of a group of contributions to a periodical (used in addition to form TX, PA or VA)
- Form SE for serials - periodicals, magazines, newspapers, annuals, newsletters, journals, etc. - "works issued or intended to be issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely."
- Form SE/GROUP - same as form SE, but for registering a group of periodicals at once. Note: for daily newspapers or newsletters, use Form G/DN
- Form CO has been discontinued, effective July 2012.
The following publications are available free from the Copyright Office. These are just a few of those available, which are most likely to be of value. Request them by number (write or fax the Copyright Office at the address below). These publications are also available at at the Copyright Office's website .
- 1 Copyright Basics - if nothing else, get a copy of this pamphlet. It will answer most of your questions about the ins and outs of copyright registration.
- 2 Publications on Copyright
- 3 Copyright Notice
- 6 Obtaining Copies of Copyright Office Records and Deposits
- 7b "Best Edition" of Published Copyrighted Works for the Collections of the Library of Congress
- 7d Mandatory Deposit of Copies or Phonorecords for the Library of Congress
- 9 Works-Made-For-Hire Under the 1976 Copyright Act
- 12 Recordation of Transfers & Other Documents
- 14 Copyright Registration for Derivative Works
- 15 Renewal of Copyright (relevant only to works first published before 1977)
- 15a Duration of Copyright
- 21 Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians - a detailed discussion of "fair use" in the educational context.
- 22 How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work
- 23 The Copyright Card Catalog and the Online files of the Copyright Office
- 31 Ideas, Methods or Systems
- 32 Blanks Forms and Other Works Not Protected by Copyright
- 33 Computing and Measuring Devices
- 34 Names, Titles, Short Phrases not Copyrightable
- 38a International Copyright Relations of the United States
- 40 Copyright Registration for Works of the Visual Arts
- 40a Deposit Requirements for Registration of Claims to Copyright in Visual Arts Material
- 41 Copyright Claims in Architectural Works
- 44 Cartoons and Comic Strips
- 45 Copyright Registration For Motion Pictures Including Video Recordings
- 50 Copyright Registration for Musical Compositions
- 55 Copyright Registration for Multimedia Works
- 56 Copyright for Sound Recordings
- 56a Copyright Registration of Musical Compositions and Sound Recordings
- 61 Copyright Registration for Computer Programs
- 62 Copyright Registration for Serials on Form SE
- 63 Reproductions of Copyrighted Works for Blind and Physically Handicapped Individuals
- 64 Copyright Registration for Secure Tests
- 65 Copyright Registration for Automated Databases
- 66 Copyright Registration for Online Works
- Form letter FL101 Pseudonyms
- Form letter FL102 Fair Use
- Form letter FL108 Games
- Form letter FL122 Recipes
Copyright Office Address and Phone
- Send Copyright forms and deposits to:
Registrar of Copyrights
Washington, D.C. 20559
- If you need assistance from a Public Information Specialist, call (202)287-8700 (8:30am- 5 p.m EST).
- If you know what forms you need, call the forms hotline anytime, day or night, at (202)707-9100
- The Copyright Office web site address: http://www.copyright.gov/