eCO Frequently Asked Questions
For general questions about copyright, please see Circular 1: Copyright Office Basics and the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Copyright Office website.
Registering a Claim in eCO
Uploading Electronic Files in eCO
Submitting Hard Copies of Works
Paying Fees in eCO
Registering a Claim in eCO
Who can use eCO to register claims? Anyone can use eCO to register basic claims to copyright, even those who intend to submit a hard copy(ies) of the work(s) being registered. Basic claims include literary works, visual arts works, performing arts works, sound recordings, motion pictures, and single serial issues. At this time, the following types of registration are not available in eCO: renewals, corrections, mask works, vessel hulls, groups of serial issues, groups of newspaper/newsletter issues, groups of database updates, and groups of contributions to periodicals. For information about registering these types, see the Copyright Office website.
Do I need an email address to file electronically through eCO? Yes. One of the requirements for establishing an eCO account is to provide an email address. That email address is not available on the public record.
What kinds of claims can be registered in eCO? Currently eCO accepts basic registrations only, including (a) any single work or (b) a collection of unpublished works by the same author and owned by the same claimant, or (c) multiple published works contained in the same unit of publication and owned by the same claimant. (Examples. A compact disk containing 10 songs; a book of poems)
What are the process steps for registering a claim in eCO? Registering a claim to copyright via eCO involves three steps in the following order:
- Complete an application
- Pay the associated fee (Pay online with credit/debit card or electronic check, or with a deposit account)
- Submit your work
Keep in mind that payment is required before the system will prompt you to upload copies of your work(s) as an electronic file or print out a shipping slip if you intend to submit a hard copy of your work.
What works may be registered with electronic deposits? The following classes of works may be registered in eCO with electronic deposit copies:
- Unpublished works;
- Works published only electronically;
- Published works for which the deposit requirement is ID material (see the Special Deposit Requirements section of Circular 1 for more on ID material);
- Published works for which there are special agreements requiring the hard copy deposits to be sent separately to the Library of Congress.
All other classes of works may be registered via eCO (application and fee payment) but require hard copies of the work(s) being registered.
Can I register multiple works with the same application? The Office offers several options for registering multiple works with the same application, including:
- A collective work, as defined by the copyright law
- A group of published photographs created by the same author
- A group of unpublished photographs created by the same author
- A group of up to 10 unpublished works created by the same author or co-authors
- A group of issues from the same serial publication
- A group of issues from the same newspaper (regardless of whether the paper is published daily, weekly, bi-weekly, etc.)
- A group of issues from the same newsletter
- A group of contributions by the same individual that were first published in a periodical
- Multiple works first published in the same unit of publication and owned by the same claimant
For more information about these options, please see Circular 34 on Multiple Works.
Which browsers does eCO support? The eCO system is designed to work with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 and Netscape Navigator 7.02. Firefox 2.0 users must adjust the Tabs setting to “New pages should be opened in: a new window.” The Tabs setting is under Tools/Options for Firefox for PCs and under Preferences for Firefox for Macs. The Safari and Google Chrome browser ARE NOT currently certified for use with the eCO system. Other browsers such as Opera and Konqueror may work with the eCO system.
Do I need to configure my browser before using eCO? Before getting started be sure to check your browser’s settings and make the following adjustments as necessary:
- Disable your browser’s pop-up blocker.
- Disable any 3rd party toolbars (e.g., Google or Yahoo Toolbar).
- Set your security and privacy settings to MEDIUM.
Can I check the status of a claim registered via eCO? Login to eCO and click on the blue case number associated with your claim in the Open Cases table at the bottom of the Welcome screen to view the Case Summary associated with the claim.
I have duplicate information to submit for several claims. Is there a way I can keep from entering this data multiple times? Yes. When you register a New Claim you can elect to save it as a Template. This is a very useful tool when you have duplicate information to enter for several claims.
You must first “Register a New Claim” in order to create a Template. When you have completed filling in all required information on all screens, and you are at the “Review Submission” screen, look for the “Save Template” button. Click on it and follow the screen prompts.
Uploading Electronic Files in eCO
How do I upload an electronic copy of my work in eCO? When payment is complete, you will see the "Payment Successful" screen. If not, refer to the Troubleshooting section).
- Make sure the pop-up blocker on your browser is turned off. (IMPORTANT NOTE: The “Electronic Deposit Upload” window will not appear if your pop-up blocker is enabled.)
- Click the “Next” button on the upper right of the Payment Successful screen.
- Click the “Upload Deposit” link in the “Deposit Submission” table. Click “browse” to select the file(s) you wish to upload (that is, send to eCO electronically).
What file types are acceptable? Click here for the current list of acceptable file types.
Is there a maximum file size that can be uploaded in one session? Yes. The eCO system has a 60-minute upload time out that limits the size of files that can be uploaded in one session. See the table below for guidance.
Network connection *
Max. file size
How many files can be zipped into a single file for upload in one session?
Typical Modem (56 kbps)
- 6 high quality (low compression) JPEGs taken with a 5MP camera
- 3 three-minute standard (128 kbps bitrate) MP3 files
Fiber Optic Cable (2 mbps)
- 220 high quality (low compression) JPEGs taken with a 5MP camera
- 135 three-minute standard (128 kbps bitrate) MP3 files
*IMPORTANT NOTE: The maximum file size that can be uploaded within 60 minutes will vary depending on the method and speed of your connection to the Internet, i.e. dial up users will typically experience longer upload times than high speed internet users.
How do I upload multiple files? The “Electronic Deposit Upload” window in eCO enables you to browse for and select files one at a time, then upload them as a group in one “session”. (See the table above for the total file size that can be uploaded in one session.)
What if the files for a single case are too large to be uploaded in a single session? If you attempt to upload one or more files whose total exceeds the maximum that can be transmitted within 60 minutes, you will see a message alerting you that files selected are too large for successful upload in one session. If you have one or more very large files, we recommend that you:
- Compress the file(s) by zipping them.
- Break large files into two or more smaller files so that the total is less than the maximum size for uploading.
- Upload multiple deposit files in more than one session: after files are submitted, close the “Upload” window, click the Upload Deposit link for the same case in the Deposit Submission table, then select and upload more files. Repeat these steps until all files for the case have been submitted.
Submitting Hard Copies of Works
I register works that require hard copy deposits to satisfy Library of Congress deposit regulations. How do I do that in eCO? You may submit an application and payment in eCO and then create and print a shipping slip to be attached to the hard copy(ies) of your work for delivery to the Copyright Office via mail/courier.
- You should see a Payment Confirmation screen upon completion of payment (if not, refer to the Troubleshooting section). Click the “Submit your work” button toward the top of the page.
- Click the Send by Mail link in the Deposit Submission table.
- Click the Shipping Slip link that appears in the Attachments table to generate a shipping slip to be attached to your work(s).
The shipping slip includes the correct mailing address and zip code for the class of work(s) being registered. To avoid misrouting, please be sure to attach a shipping slip directly to each work or set of works that you submit.
What does “best edition” mean? The copyright law (title 17, United States Code) requires that copies or phonorecords deposited in the Copyright Office be of the “best edition” of the work. For more on “best edition,” see Circular 7B: ‘Best Edition’ of Published Copyrighted Works for the Collections of the Library of Congress.
Are there special instructions for packaging copies of my work(s) for mail/courier delivery? To avoid damage to your deposit due to Capitol Hill security measures, please package the following items in boxes rather than envelopes for mailing to the Copyright Office:
Also please note that CDs/DVDs packaged in standard full-sized jewel boxes are more likely to survive the mail radiation process than those packaged in slim-line case.
- Electronic media such as audiocassettes, videocassettes, CDs, and DVDs
- Slick advertisements, color photocopies, and other print items that are rubber- and vegetable-based
Paying Fees in eCO
What payment options are available in eCO? You may pay with credit/debit card or ACH transfer via Pay.gov or with a copyright office deposit account.
What is Pay.gov? Pay.gov is a secure, web based application operated by the U.S. Treasury Department that allows users to make online payments to government agencies by credit card or by debit from a checking or savings account.
Do I have to create a user account with Pay.gov? No. For payment via credit/debit card or ACH transfer, eCO will forward you directly to the Pay.gov payment screen. Once payment has been completed, Pay.gov will redirect you back into eCO to complete your registration. You will receive a payment confirmation email from Pay.gov after a successful transaction.
What is a deposit account? The Copyright Office maintains a system of deposit accounts for those who frequently use its services. An individual or firm may establish a deposit account, make advance deposits into that account, and charge copyright fees against the balance in their account via eCO. Click here for more on deposit accounts.
How do I link an existing deposit account to my eCO account? You may link an existing deposit account to an Organization account in eCO and then charge fees against the balance of the deposit account any time you use eCO to register claims. To create an Organization account in eCO, click the Organization/DA link in the menu bar on the right side of the Welcome screen.
- Firefox 2.0 users must adjust the Tabs setting to “New pages should be opened in: a new window.” The Tabs setting is under Tools/Options for Firefox for PCs and under Preferences for Firefox for Macs.
- Internet Explorer users: Click on Tools, Internet Options, Advance Tab. In the Browsing Section, uncheck “Reuse window for launching shortcuts”
- Turn off popup blockers for the eCO website.
- Disable any 3rd party Toolbars (Google or Yahoo Toolbar).
- Check your security and privacy setting and make sure they are set to MEDIUM.
- Create an eCO Shortcut on your desktop (Right mouse click anywhere in an open area on your desktop; choose New from the drop down menu and then select Shortcut; type or copy and paste the following URL: https://eco.copyright.gov/eService_enu/; click on Next and type in a name for the shortcut (for example: “Electronic Copyright Office”); click Finish.)
- If you bookmarked or saved the eCO home page in your favorites, change the address path (Go to favorites; right mouse click on the link; go to Properties and shorten the address to https://eco.copyright.gov/eService_enu/)
After paying in pay.gov all I received was a blank page, what do I do? If you completed an application and paid the registration fee but were not re-directed from Pay.gov into eCO correctly to complete the registration, do the following:
- You MUST disable your browser's pop-up blocker (if it is enabled).
- Revisit the eCO login page and log into the system.
- In the Open Cases table at the bottom of the welcome screen, click the blue case number associated with your claim.
- On the Case Summary page, click the “Upload Deposit” button at the top of the page. A window with fields for browsing and selecting files to be uploaded should appear. POP-UP BLOCKER ALERT: If your browser’s pop-up blocker is enabled the browse and select window will not appear.
If you are a Firefox user, you likely have this problem because you did not adjust the tab setting. To remedy, Click on Tools | Options and deselect the option “a new tab” under the heading “New pages should be opened in.”