What is special handling?
Special handling is the expedited processing of an online or paper application for registration of a claim to copyright or for the recordation of a document pertaining to copyright. It is granted in certain circumstances to those who have compelling reasons for this service. It is subject to the approval of the chief of the Receipt Analysis and Control Division, who must consider the workload of the Copyright Office at the time the request is made.
When is special handling granted?
Special handling is granted only in the following specific circumstances:
A cover letter explaining the circumstances for the request is sufficient
- pending or prospective litigation
- customs matters, or
- contract or publishing deadlines that necessitate the expedited issuance of a certificate.
Note: Special handling is not available for requests to reconsider a refusal to register.
How long does it take to process special handling cases?
Once a request for special handling is received and approved, every attempt is made to process the claim or recordation within five working days. However, no guarantee is made that the work can be processed within this time.
What’s the best way to expedite processing?
For most filings, it is best to register online http://www.copyright.gov/eco/
Special Handling requests may also be hand-delivered to the Copyright Information Section, LM-401 of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave, SE.
Note, however, that some types of filings must be mailed. In those cases, use one of the following addresses:
Copyright RAC Division
PO Box 71380
Washington, DC 20024‑1380
Note. Packages exceeding 12" ´ 18" ´ 4" in size should be sent to the following address:
Washington, DC 20540
Important: These are U.S. Postal Service mailboxes. Delivery to these addresses should be by way of the U.S. Postal Service rather than by a private carrier. Express, registered, or certified mail options that have tracking capability are recommended.
How much does it cost for special handling?
Special handling of a registration requires a special handling fee in addition to the registration fee.
Likewise, special handling for recording a document(s) requires a special handling fee in addition to the fee for recording the document(s).
Note: Copyright Office fees are subject to change. For current fees, please check the Copyright Office website at www.copyright.gov, write the Copyright Office, or call (202) 707 3000.
For more information, see Circular 10, Special Handling or contact the Office by telephone: 202 707-3000 or toll free at 1-877-476-0778.
The citation is 37 CFR §201.15:
Note: The Copyright Office offers introductory answers to frequently asked questions about
copyright, registration, and services of the Office. Links throughout the answers will guide
you to further information on our website or from other sources. For any other questions, please visit
our Contact Us page.