Frequently Asked Questions
What does copyright protect?
How is a copyright different from a patent or a trademark?
When is my work protected?
Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic?
I've heard about a poor man's copyright. What is it?
Is my copyright good in other countries?
What does copyright protect?
Can I copyright my website?
Can I copyright my domain name?
How do I protect my recipe?
Can I copyright the name of my band?
How do I copyright a name, title, slogan or logo?
How do I protect my idea?
Does my work have to be published to be protected?
Can I register a diary I found in my grandmother's attic?
How do I protect my sighting of Elvis?
Does copyright protect architecture?
Can I get a star named after me and claim copyright to it?
How do I register my copyright?
Where can I get application forms?
Can I file online?
Can I choose any title when registering my work?
Are there specific requirements regarding the title of my work that I should know when completing my application?
What is the registration fee?
Do you take credit cards?
Do I have to send in my work? Do I get it back?
Will my deposit be damaged by security measures in place on Capitol Hill?
May I register more than one work on the same application? Where do I list the titles?
Do I have to use my real name on the form? Can I use a stage name or a pen name?
Will my personal information be available to the public?
How long does the registration process take?
Can I submit my manuscript on a computer disk?
Can I submit a CD-ROM of my work?
Does my work have to be published to be protected?
How much do I have to change in my own work to make a new claim of copyright?
Do you have special mailing requirements?
What is group registration of unpublished works?
What does "GRUW" stand for?
How do I register two or more unpublished works with the same application?
Where can I learn about this group registration option?
In the past, I registered my work as an "unpublished collection". Can I still do this?
When does this change go into effect?
When was this change announced?
What has the Office done to notify the public about this change?
Do I need to submit my claim through the electronic registration system?
Can I use a paper application to register two or more unpublished works?
Where do I find information about the online registration system?
What if I need help completing the online application for a "Group of Unpublished Works"?
I've been using a paper application to register my works as an "unpublished collection". Can I still use a paper form?
I've been using the "Standard" online application to register my works as an "unpublished collection". Can I still use the "Standard" application?
How can I tell the difference between the online application for a "Group of Unpublished Works" and the "Standard" online application?
Can I register more than ten unpublished works with the same application?
Can I register published and unpublished works with the same application?
Can I register multiple works with different authors?
What if someone else owns the copyright in the works?
I want to include the current owner's name in the registration record. How can I do that?
Do I need to provide a title for each work?
What if my works don't have titles?
Where do I enter the title for each work?
Should I enter all of the titles in the same space?
Can I provide a title for my "collection"?
Do I need to upload an electronic copy of my works?
Where do I find information about how to upload my works?
Do I need to submit my works in a particular format?
Can I submit all of my works in one electronic file?
Can I upload individual pages from each work?
I've been sending physical copies to the Copyright Office. Can I still do this?
My works were created in a physical format. Do I still need to upload an electronic copy of each work?
I registered a group of unpublished works. I found an error in my certificate. I also want to add some additional information to the certificate. Can I do this?
Where do I find the application for supplementary registration?
Where can I learn more about supplementary registration?
A third party may be named as the copyright claimant if that party owns all of the exclusive rights initially belonging to an author of all of the works in the group being registered. What are the “exclusive rights” that must be fully owned by the third party?
The author transferred their right to reproduce and distribute the work to a third party (such as a music publisher or record label). The author retained the remainder of the exclusive rights in their work. Can the third party be named as a copyright claimant?
The author transferred 50 percent of their distribution rights to a third party (such as a music publisher or record label). The author retained the rest of the distribution rights in their works. Can the third party be named as a copyright claimant?
The author transferred some—but not all—of their exclusive rights to a third party (such as a music publisher or record label). I want to include the copyright owner’s name in the registration record. Can I do that?
What is preregistration?
What works can be preregistered?
What classes of works are eligible for preregistration?
Is preregistration a substitute for registration?
Will I need to make a regular registration after my work is completed?
When should I register my work if I have already preregistered it?
How do I preregister?
What is the effective date of my preregistration?
How do I complete a preregistration application?
You ask for a description in the preregistration application. What should it include?
Will I receive a certificate for my preregistration?
What is the fee for preregistration?
What methods of payment are accepted for preregistration?
What does ACH (payment)mean?
Do I receive a password from the Copyright Office to log into the eCO website to preregister my work? Or do I create my own password?
What are the password requirements that I should follow when I create my password?
How do I change my password?
What do I do if I forgot my password?
How do I get permission to use somebody else's work?
How can I find out who owns a copyright?
How can I obtain copies of someone else's work and/or registration certificate?
How much of someone else's work can I use without getting permission?
How much do I have to change in order to claim copyright in someone else's work?
Somebody infringed my copyright. What can I do?
Could I be sued for using somebody else's work? How about quotes or samples?
Do you have a list of songs or movies in the public domain?
I saw an image on the Library of Congress website that I would like to use. Do I need to...
Is it legal to download works from peer-to-peer networks and if not, what is the penalty...
Can a school show a movie without obtaining permission from the copyright owner?
My local copying store will not make reproductions of old family photographs. What can I do?
Are you the only place I can go to register a copyright?
Can you provide me with copies of my application and my work?
I lost my certificate. Can I get a new one?
Can you tell me who owns a copyright?
Is the Copyright Office open to the public?
Does the Copyright Office give legal advice?
How do I get my work published?
How do I collect royalties?
How do I get my work into the Library of Congress
What is mandatory deposit?
We are a foreign publisher. Do we need to submit our publication to comply...
What is the difference between mandatory deposit and copyright registration?
Where do I send my published works to comply with mandatory deposit?
If I choose to register my copyright, should I use the same address that I use for...
Is there an exception to mandatory deposits?
If my publication does not have a copyright notice, do I still have to deposit?
What is the difference between the mandatory deposit obligation and the CIP obligation?
Will my Cataloging In Publication (CIP) copy fulfill my mandatory deposit obligation?
If I send deposit copies of a sample issue of my serial publication to the Register of Copyrights...
I have already deposited identifying material to register my computer software...
What is Login.gov?
Why is the Copyright Office using Login.gov?
Which Copyright Office systems use Login.gov?
Do I need a separate Login.gov account for each Copyright Office system?
I don’t have a Login.gov account. What should I do?
How do I use Login.gov if I'm submitting something on behalf of my company as part of my job?
Can you help me if I lost my Login.gov password? What about other issues?
What is a deposit account?
Why are you assigning me a new account number?
When will you assign me a new account number?
I set up a template to help me use my deposit account. What happens to that?
What will happen to the existing funds in my account?
I’ve already submitted registration applications with my old account number. Will this delay my effective date of registration?
I have to include my new account number on an application. Will my new account number be included in the public record in the future?
Is this deposit account the same as the account I set up as part of the electronic recordation pilot?
I’m an account holder, but I haven’t heard from the U.S. Copyright Office. What should I do if I have additional questions?