Copyright registration is a legal formality by which the basic facts of a particular copyright are made a public record. Registration establishes a public record of a copyright claim. Registration establishes prima facie evidence of the validity of the copyright in court, if made before or within five years of publication. Moreover, registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U. S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies. Registration may be made at any time within the life of the copyright.
The three essential elements of an application for copyright registration are: 1) a completed application form, 2) a non-refundable filing fee, and 3) a non-returnable deposit. A copyright registration is effective on the date the Copyright Office receives all required elements in an acceptable form.
The preferred way to register basic claims for literary works is online registration through the electronic Copyright Office (eCO). Advantages of online filing include a lower filing fee, fastest processing time, and online status tracking.
The new fill-in Form CO using 2-d barcode scanning technology is the next best option for registering basic claims. The process of these forms is much faster and more efficient than that of paper forms. Form CO is available at Copyright Office website. Paper versions of Form TX for literary works are still available upon request.