Special Handling


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.


For more information on special handling, see chapter 600, section 623 of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices.


When is special handling granted?

Special handling is granted only in the following specific circumstances:

You must explicitly state one of these reasons for special handling in your request. The Office may refuse to grant your request if it is not sufficiently justified or if the Office is unable to process the request due to workload or budget constraints.


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.


If the examiner needs to contact you about your application, he or she will attempt to do so via the email address you have provided. Failure to respond to such communications may result in administrative closure of the file or refusal of the claim.


When can I request special handling?

You may request special handling when you submit your materials or at any time before the Office issues a final registration decision or certificate of recordation.


Is there a separate fee for special handling?

Yes. Special handling of a registration or recording a document requires a special handling fee in addition to the registration or recordation fee. Note: Copyright Office fees are subject to change.


How do I request special handling?

You must include a specific request and separate fee for special handling in addition to your registration or recordation materials. The procedure for requesting special handling depends on how you submit materials to the Office and when you request special handling. Detailed directions for preparing a request for special handling can be found in chapter 600, section 623.5(B) of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices.


Online Registration
The Office strongly encourages you to utilize the online registration system to submit your registration application and request for special handling. When submitting an application using the electronic registration system, complete the fields that appear on the Special Handling screen. Check the box marked “special handling,” provide a justification for the request by checking one or more of the boxes that appear under the heading “Compelling Reason(s),” and certify your request. You may provide additional comments or instructions that may be relevant to your request in the “Explanation for Special Handling” field.


Paper Registration and Recordation
To request special handling for a registration completed by paper application or for recordation, complete the special handling special handling form or complete a cover letter requesting special handling.


If you complete a cover letter, it must include one or more of the accepted justifications for special handling (pending or prospective litigation, customs matters, contract or publishing deadlines), provide a signed statement certifying that the information is correct to the best of the correspondent’s knowledge, and be clearly labeled “Special Handling.”


Deliver the special handling request, along with your registration or recordation materials, in person, by courier, or by mail using the directions below. The Office strongly encourages you to deliver materials in person to the Office to ensure they are received in a timely manner and to minimize the risk of damage.


In-Process Registrations or Recordations
To request special handling for a registration or recordation that is in-process, complete the special handling form or complete a cover letter requesting special handling.


If you complete a cover letter for an in-process registration or recordation, it must include one or more of the accepted justifications for special handling (pending or prospective litigation, customs matters, contract or publishing deadlines), provide a signed statement certifying that the information is correct to the best of the correspondent’s knowledge, and be clearly labeled “Special Handling.” A cover letter requesting special handling for an in-process registration or recordation should also include information to facilitate the location of your application and accompanying materials such as a description of the deposit copy(ies) or identifying material submitted to the Copyright Office, the date the application was submitted, the exact title of the work(s), the name of the author(s) and claimant(s), and the case number or service request number, if known.


Deliver the special handling request in person, by courier, or by mail using the directions below. The Office strongly encourages you to deliver materials in person to the Office to ensure they are received in a timely manner and to minimize the risk of damage.



Where do I deliver my request for special handling?

If you are not submitting an online application for registration, the Office strongly encourages you to deliver materials in person.


In person deliveries may be made to:


The Public Information Office.
Room LM-401, James Madison Memorial Building
Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20559
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 am–5:00 pm Eastern time (except federal holidays)


Note: Visitors must pass through security before entering the building. Sealed packages or packages that are more than twenty-four inches wide by fifteen inches high are not permitted.


Although strongly discouraged, you may submit a request for special handling by U.S. mail, or if the package exceeds certain measurements, by courier.


Items delivered by courier should be sent to:


Congressional Courier Acceptance Site
2nd and D Streets, NE
Washington, DC
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 am–5:00 pm Eastern time (except federal holidays)


Note: Items delivered to this location are typically sent to the Office the next working day.


Items delivered by U.S. mail should be sent priority or certified to:


Special Handling
Copyright RAC Division
P.O. Box 71380
Washington, DC 20024-1380


Note: Packages containing a request for special handling and delivered by mail must not exceed twelve inches by eighteen inches by four inches in size. Packages exceeding these dimensions should either by delivered in person or sent by U.S. mail to:


Special Handling
Department 100
Washington, DC 20540