Services of the Copyright Office

Are you the only place I can go to register a copyright?

Yes. Although copyright application forms may be available in public libraries and some reference books, the U.S. Copyright Office is the only office that can accept applications and issue registrations.

Can you provide me with copies of my application and my work?

Contact the Records Research and Certification Division of the Copyright Office at 1 (877) 476-0778 (toll-free) or see Circular 6, Obtaining Access to and Copies of Copyright Records and Deposits, for details.

I lost my certificate. Can I get a new one?

Yes, we can produce an additional certificate for a fee of $55. See Circular 6, Obtaining Access to and Copies of Copyright Records and Deposits, for details on how to make a request.

Can you tell me who owns a copyright?

We can provide you with the information available in our records. A search of registrations, renewals, and recorded transfers of ownership made before 1978 requires a manual search of our files. Upon request, our staff will search our records at the statutory rate of $200 for each hour (2 hour minimum). There is no fee if you conduct a search in person at the Copyright Office. Copyright registrations made and documents recorded from 1978 to date are available for searching online. For further information, see Circular 22, How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work, and Circular 23, Copyright Card Catalog and the Online File. Check out the Virtual Card Catalog Proof of Concept as well.

Is the Copyright Office open to the public?

Yes. Hours of service are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. eastern time, Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. Activities available in person include speaking with a Copyright Office staff member, requesting various services, and searching our card catalog.

Does the Copyright Office give legal advice?

No. The Copyright Office does not give legal opinions concerning the rights of persons in cases of alleged infringement, contracts, or the copyright status of any particular work other than the information shown in the records of the Office.

How do I get my work published?

Publication occurs at the discretion and initiative of the copyright owner. The Copyright Office has no role in the publication process.

How do I collect royalties?

The collection of royalties is usually a matter of private arrangements between an author and publisher or other users of the author's work. The Copyright Office plays no role in the execution of contractual terms or business practices. There are copyright licensing organizations and publications rights clearinghouses that distribute royalties for their members.

How do I get my work into the Library of Congress?

Copies of works deposited for copyright registration or in fulfillment of the mandatory deposit requirement are available to the Library of Congress for its collections. The Library reserves the right to select or reject any published work for its permanent collections based on the research needs of Congress, the nation's scholars, and the nation's libraries. If you would like further information on the Library's selection policies, you may contact: Library of Congress, Collections Policy Office, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. 20540.