Original Registration

To register a work, send the following three elements in the same envelope or package to:

Library of Congress
Copyright Office
Register of Copyrights
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

  1. A properly completed application form;
  2. A nonrefundable filing fee of $20* for each application. (*For the fee structure for application Form SE/GROUP, Form GATT, Form GATT/GRP, and Form G/DN, see the instructions on these forms.)
  3. A nonreturnable deposit of the work being registered. The deposit requirements vary in particular situations. The general requirements follow. Also note the information under “Special Deposit Requirements” on page 8.
NOTE: Registration filing fees are effective through June 30, 1999. For information on the fee changes, please write the Copyright Office, check the Copyright Office Website at
http://, or call (202) 707-3000.
  • If the work is unpublished, one complete copy or phonorecord.
  • If the work was first published in the United States on or after January 1, 1978, two complete copies or phonorecords of the best edition.
  • If the work was first published in the United States before January 1, 1978, two complete copies or phonorecords of the work as first published.
  • If the work was first published outside the United States, one complete copy or phonorecord of the work as first published.
  • What Happens if the Three Elements Are Not Received Together

    Applications and fees received without appropriate copies, phonorecords, or identifying material will not be processed and ordinarily will be returned. Unpublished deposits without applications or fees ordinarily will be returned, also. In most cases, published deposits received without applications and fees can be immediately transferred to the collections of the Library of Congress. This practice is in accordance with section 408 of the law, which provides that the published deposit required for the collections of the Library of Congress may be used for registration only if the deposit is “accompanied by the prescribed application and fee….”

    After the deposit is received and transferred to another service unit of the Library for its collections or other disposition, it is no longer available to the Copyright Office. If you wish to register the work, you must deposit additional copies or phonorecords with your application and fee.

    NOTE: Complete the application form using black ink pen or typewriter. You may photocopy blank application forms. However, photocopied forms submitted to the Copyright Office must be clear, legible, on a good grade of 8 1 /2- inch by 11-inch white paper suitable for automatic feeding through a photocopier. The forms should be printed, preferably in black ink, head-to- head so that when you turn the sheet over, the top of page 2 is directly behind the top of page 1. Forms not meeting these requirements will be returned and registration will be delayed.

    Renewal Registration

    To register a renewal, send:

    1. A properly completed application Form RE and
    2. A nonrefundable filing fee of $20* for each work. (*For the fee structure for application Form SE/GROUP, Form GATT, Form G/DN, see the instructions on these forms.)

    Special Deposit Requirements

    Special deposit requirements exist for many types of works. The following are prominent examples of exceptions to the general deposit requirements:

    • If the work is a motion picture, the deposit requirement is one complete copy of the unpublished or published motion picture and a separate written description of its contents, such as a continuity, press book, or synopsis.
    • If the work is a literary, dramatic, or musical work published only on phonorecord, the deposit requirement is one complete phonorecord.
    • If the work is an unpublished or published computer program, the deposit requirement is one visually perceptible copy in source code of the first 25 and last 25 pages of the program. For a program of fewer than 50 pages, the deposit is a copy of the entire program. For more information on computer program registration, including deposits for revised programs and provisions for trade secrets, request Circular 61, “Copyright Registration for Computer Programs.”
    • If the work is in a CD-ROM format, the deposit requirement is one complete copy of the material, that is, the CD-ROM, the operating software, and any manual(s) accompanying it. If registration is sought for the computer program on the CD-ROM, the deposit should also include a printout of the first 25 and last 25 pages of source code for the program.
    • For information about group registration of serials, request Circular 62.

    In the case of works reproduced in three-dimensional copies, identifying material such as photographs or drawings is ordinarily required. Other examples of special deposit requirements (but by no means an exhaustive list) include many works of the visual arts such as greeting cards, toys, fabrics, oversized materials (request Circular 40a, “Deposit Requirements for Registration of Claims to Copyright in Visual Arts Material”); video games and other machine-readable audiovisual works (request Circular 61); automated databases (request Circular 65, “Copyright Registration for Automated Databases”); and contributions to collective works. For information about deposit requirements for group registration of serials, request Circular 62, “Copyright Registration for Serials on Form SE.”*

    * See NOTE on page 7.

    If you are unsure of the deposit requirement for your work, write or call the Copyright Office and describe the work you wish to register.

    Unpublished Collections

    Under the following conditions, a work may be registered in unpublished form as a “collection,” with one application form and one fee:

    • The elements of the collection are assembled in an orderly form;
    • The combined elements bear a single title identifying the collection as a whole;
    • The copyright claimant in all the elements and in the collection as a whole is the same; and
    • All the elements are by the same author, or, if they are by different authors, at least one of the authors has contributed copyrightable authorship to each element.

    An unpublished collection is not indexed under the individual titles of the contents but under the title of the collection.

    NOTE: A Library of Congress Catalog Card Number is different from a copyright registration number. The Cataloging in Publication (CIP) Division of the Library of Congress is responsible for assigning LC Catalog Card Numbers and is operationally separate from the Copyright Office. A book may be registered in or deposited with the Copyright Office but not necessarily cataloged and added to the Library’s collections. For information about obtaining an LC Catalog Card Number, contact the Library of Congress, CIP Division, Washington, D.C. 20540-4320. For information on International Standard Book Numbering (ISBN), write to: ISBN, R.R. Bowker, 121 Chanlon Road, New Providence, NJ 07974. Call (908) 665- 6770. For information on International Standard Serial Numbering (ISSN), write to: Library of Congress, National Serials Data Program, Serial Record Division, Washington, D.C. 20540-4160. Call (202) 707-6452. Or obtain information via the World Wide Web at http:/ /


    A copyright registration is effective on the date the Copyright Office receives all the required elements in acceptable form, regardless of how long it then takes to process the application and mail the certificate of registration. The time the Copyright Office requires to process an application varies, depending on the amount of material the Office is receiving.

    If you apply for copyright registration, you will not receive an acknowledgment that your application has been received (the Office receives more than 600,000 applications annually), but you can expect:

    * A letter or a telephone call from a Copyright Office staff member if further information is needed or

    * A certificate of registration indicating that the work has been registered, or if the application cannot be accepted, a letter explaining why it has been rejected.

    Requests to have certificates available for pickup in the Public Information Office or to have certificates sent by Federal Express or another mail service cannot be honored.

    If you want to know the date that the Copyright Office receives your material, send it by registered or certified mail and request a return receipt.


    To correct an error in a copyright registration or to amplify the information given in a registration, file a supplementary registration form—Form CA—with the Copyright Office. The information in a supplementary registration augments but does not supersede that contained in the earlier registration. Note also that a supplementary registration is not a substitute for an original registration, for a renewal registration, or for recording a transfer of ownership. For further information about supplementary registration, request Circular 8, “Supplementary Copyright Registration.”.


    Although a copyright registration is not required, the Copyright Act establishes a mandatory deposit requirement for works published in the United States. See the definition of “publication” on page 3. In general, the owner of copyright or the owner of the exclusive right of publication in the work has a legal obligation to deposit in the Copyright Office, within 3 months of publication in the United States, two copies (or in the case of sound recordings, two phonorecords) for the use of the Library of Congress. Failure to make the deposit can result in fines and other penalties but does not affect copyright protection.

    Certain categories of works are exempt entirely from the mandatory deposit requirements, and the obligation is reduced for certain other categories. For further information about mandatory deposit, request Circular 7d, “Mandatory Deposit of Copies or Phonorecords for the Library of Congress.”


    For works published in the United States, the copyright code contains a provision under which a single deposit can be made to satisfy both the deposit requirements for the Library and the registration requirements. In order to have this dual effect, the copies or phonorecords must be accompanied by the prescribed application form and filing fee.


    The following persons are legally entitled to submit an application form:

    • The author. This is either the person who actually created the work or, if the work was made for hire, the employer or other person for whom the work was prepared.
    • The copyright claimant. The copyright claimant is defined in Copyright Office regulations as either the author of the work or a person or organization that has obtained ownership of all the rights under the copyright initially belonging to the author. This category includes a person or organization who has obtained by contract the right to claim legal title to the copyright in an application for copyright registration.
    • The owner of exclusive right(s). Under the law, any of the exclusive rights that go to make up a copyright and any subdivision of them can be transferred and owned separately, even though the transfer may be limited in time or place of effect. The term “copyright owner” with respect to any one of the exclusive rights contained in a copyright refers to the owner of that particular right. Any owner of an exclusive right may apply for registration of a claim in the work.
    • The duly authorized agent of such author, other copyright claimant, or owner of exclusive right(s). Any person authorized to act on behalf of the author, other copyright claimant, or owner of exclusive rights may apply for registration.

    There is no requirement that applications be prepared or filed by an attorney.


    For Original Registration

    Form PA: for published and unpublished works of the performing arts (musical and dramatic works, pantomimes and choreographic works, motion pictures and other audiovisual works)
    Form SE: for serials, works issued or intended to be issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely (periodicals, newspapers, magazines, newsletters, annuals, journals, etc.)
    Form SR: for published and unpublished sound recordings
    Form TX: for published and unpublished non-dramatic literary works
    Form VA: for published and unpublished works of the visual arts (pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works, including architectural works)
    Form G/DN: a specialized form to register a complete month’s issues of a daily newspaper when certain conditions are met
    Short Form/SE and Form SE/GROUP: specialized SE forms for use when certain requirements are met
    Short Forms TX, PA, and VA: short versions of applications for original registration. For further information about using the short forms, request publication SL-7.
    Form GATT and Form GATT/GRP: specialized forms to register a claim in a work or group of related works in which U.S. copyright was restored under the 1994 Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA). For further information, request Circular 38b.

    For Renewal Registration

    Form RE: for claims to renew copyright in works copyrighted under the law in effect through December 31, 1977 (1909 Copyright Act)

    For Corrections and Amplifications

    Form CA: for supplementary registration to correct or amplify information given in the Copyright Office record of an earlier registration

    For a Group of Contributions to Periodicals

    For a Group of Contributions to Periodicals Form GR/CP: an adjunct application to be used for registration of a group of contributions to periodicals in addition to an application Form TX, PA, or VA

    How to Obtain Application Forms

    Library of Congress
    Copyright Office
    Publications Section, LM-455 101
    Independence Avenue, S.E.
    Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

    Or you may obtain application forms via the Internet. All copyright application forms may be downloaded from the Internet and printed for use in registering a claim to copyright. The forms may be accessed and downloaded by connecting to the Copyright Office homepage on the World Wide Web. The address is:

    You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader ® installed on your computer to view and print the forms. Adobe Acrobat Reader may be downloaded free from Adobe Systems Incorporated through links from the same Internet site from which the forms are available.

    Print forms head to head (top of page 2 is directly behind the top of page 1) on a single piece of good quality, 8 1 /2-inch by 11-inch white paper. To achieve the best quality copies of the application forms, use a laser printer.


    All remittances should be in the form of drafts, that is, checks, money orders, or bank drafts, payable to: Register of Copyrights. Do not send cash. Drafts must be redeemable without service or exchange fee through a U. S. institution, must be payable in U.S. dollars, and must be imprinted with American Banking Association routing numbers. International Money Orders and Postal Money Orders that are negotiable only at a post office are not acceptable.

    If a check received in payment of the filing fee is returned to the Copyright Office as uncollectible, the Copyright Office will cancel the registration and will notify the remitter.

    The filing fee for processing an original, supplementary, or renewal claim is nonrefundable, whether or not copyright registration is ultimately made.

    Do not send cash. The Copyright Office cannot assume any responsibility for the loss of currency sent in payment of copyright fees. For further information, request Circular 4.

    NOTE: Registration filing fees are effective through June 30, 1999. For information on the fee changes, please write the Copyright Office, check the Copyright Office Website at
    http://, or call (202) 707-3000.


    The records of the Copyright Office are open for inspection and searching by the public. Moreover, on request, the Copyright Office will search its records for you at the statutory rate of $20 for each hour or fraction of an hour. (See NOTE above.) For information on searching the Office records concerning the copyright status or ownership of a work, request Circular 22, “How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work,” and Circular 23, “The Copyright Card Catalog and the Online Files of the Copyright Office.”

    Copyright Office records in machine-readable form cataloged from January 1, 1978, to the present, including registration and renewal information and recorded documents, are now available for searching on the Internet. These files may be examined through LOCIS (Library of Congress Information System). Access to LOCIS requires Telnet support. If your online service provider supports Telnet, you can connect to LOCIS through the World Wide Web or directly by using Telnet.

    World Wide Web:
    Gopher: (port 70)

    If your online service provider does not support Telnet, address your concerns directly to the provider.


    To request Copyright Office publications including application forms and circulars, write to:

    Library of Congress
    Copyright Office
    Publications Section, LM-455
    101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
    Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

    There is no charge for circulars and application forms supplied by the Copyright Office.

    To speak with an information specialist, call (202) 707-3000 or TTY: (202) 707-6737, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, eastern time, except Federal holidays. Recorded information is available 24 hours a day.

    Selected circulars and announcements are available via fax. Call (202) 707-2600 from any touchtone telephone. Key in your fax number at the prompt and the document number of the item(s) you want. The item(s) will be transmitted to your fax machine. If you do not know the document number of the item(s) you want, you may request that a menu be faxed to you. You may order up to three items at a time. Note that copyright application forms are not available by fax.

    Frequently requested Copyright Office circulars, announcements, regulations, and all copyright application forms are available at the Internet address cited on page 11. For a list of other material published by the Copyright Office, request Circular 2, “Publications on Copyright.”

    The Copyright Office provides a free electronic mailing list, NewsNet, that issues periodic email messages on the subject of copyright. The messages alert subscribers to hearings, deadlines for comments, new and proposed regulations, new publications, and other copyright-related subjects of interest. NewsNet is not an interactive discussion group. To subscribe, send a message to LISTSERV@RS8.LOC.GOV. In the body of the message say: SUBSCRIBE USCOPYRIGHT. You will receive a standard welcoming message indicating that your subscription to NewsNet has been accepted.

    The Copyright Public Information Office is open to the public 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, eastern time, except Federal holidays. The office is located in the Library of Congress, James Madison Memorial Building, Room 401, at 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C., near the Capitol South Metro stop. Information specialists are available to answer questions, provide circulars, and accept applications for registration. Access for disabled individuals is at the front door on Independence Avenue, S.E.

    The Copyright Office is not permitted to give legal advice. If information or guidance is needed on matters such as disputes over the ownership of a copyright, suits against possible infringers, the procedure for getting a work published, or the method of obtaining royalty payments, it may be necessary to consult an attorney.

    Copyright Office * Library of Congress * Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

    REV: June 1998

    WEBSITE. To locate the original material (which may have been updated) click here