U.S. Copyright Office
Library of Congress
New Registration Certificates

New format for some registration certificates - further modifications

The Copyright Office is changing the format of certain copyright registration certificates, as part of a pilot project. Unlike traditional certificates of registration, the certificates issued as part of the pilot project are not facsimiles of the paper applications, but are electronically generated from data entered from the applications. Since the new certificate format was first announced, the Office has made some further modifications. All certificates issued as part of the pilot project are in the format described below. (Traditional format certificates will continue to be issued for works registered outside the pilot project.)


The Office is reengineering its business processes to improve the efficiency and timeliness of its public services. To test the new processes, a pilot project began on February 14, 2005, involving registrations for motion pictures and other audiovisual works registered in class PA. During the pilot, applicants continue to file claims using the current Form PA paper application, but the certificate is system-generated. While the substantive content of the new certificate is almost identical to that of the current one, the format and general appearance are significantly different. For further background information, see

Description of Pilot Certificate

Since the new certificate format was first announced, the Office has made some further modifications. As modified, the pilot certificate differs from the traditional certificate in the following ways.

  • It is system-generated, not a facsimile of the paper form.
  • Some space headings are changed.
  • The order of the spaces is changed
  • Spaces are not numbered.
  • The spaces are as follows, in this order:
    • Title
    • Completion/Publication
    • Author
    • Copyright Claimant
    • Limitation of Copyright Claim
    • Certification.

    The Limitation of Copyright Claim space includes information from spaces 5 and 6 of Form PA. Within the Limitation space, the new line heading “Material excluded from this claim” corresponds to “Preexisting Material” on Form PA; and, the new line heading “New material included in this claim” corresponds to “Material Added to this Work” on Form PA.

Certain incidental information unrelated to the substance of the copyright claim is eliminated from the new certificate. The omitted material includes:

  • the instructional text found on the paper form
  • the headings of spaces and lines left blank where the information is not required
  • the application and deposit receipt dates
  • the “examined by” and “checked by'' lines in the “Copyright Office use only'' space
  • the correspondence contact information
  • the deposit account name and number
  • the handwritten signature.

(The examiner’s initials, all receipt dates, and an image of the signature are permanently stored in the electronic record of the registration.) Also, the mailing address for the certificate is printed on a separate page. The mailing address page is not considered part of the certificate itself, as reflected in the page numbering.

The pilot certificate is the same as the traditional certificate in the following ways.

  • The substantive content entered by the applicant is the same.
  • The top of the certificate displays the registration number, the effective date of registration, the seal of the Copyright Office, and the certification by the Register of Copyrights.
  • Most line headings are the same.
  • The certificate is printed on the same special security paper.

Two sample certificates are provided. These samples contain fictitious data and are provided solely to illustrate the format and headings of the certificate

Sample 1 illustrates a registration with less required information and correspondingly fewer line headings. Sample 2 illustrates a registration with more information and headings.