Records Research and Certification Services
The U.S. Copyright Office’s Records Research and Certification Section (RRCS) provides copies of completed and in-process registration records (applications, certificates of registration, and related correspondence), completed and in-process recordation records (recorded documents, certificates of recordation, and related correspondence), search reports, and registration deposit materials. Completed registration and recordation records, and search reports are available to any member of the public upon request. Requests for copies of deposit materials or for in-process applications for registration and recordation require additional documentation. Anyone who is deemed not authorized to obtain a copy of deposit materials may, in the alternative, inspect the deposit materials.
Records, search reports and deposit materials in the Office’s custody may be certified, and are provided on a routine or expedited basis, depending on the needs of the requesting party. Copying, search and certification services require payment of applicable fees. RRCS is now accepting payments for services via pay.gov.
How to request?
All requests must be submitted in writing. Written requests for copies of records should clearly:
- identify the type of records you want (for example, additional certificates of registration, copies of correspondence, copies of assignments);
- specify whether you require certified or uncertified copies;
- specify the records to be copied, including, if possible, details about
a. the registration number, including the letters representing the class in which the work was registered (for example, TX000-000, A000) (required);
b. the year or approximate year of registration (for example, 1985);
c. the complete title of the work;
d. the author(s), including any pseudonym by which the author(s) may be known;
e. the claimant(s); and
f. the type of work involved (for example, novel, lyrics, or photograph);
g. for a copy of an assignment, contract, or other recorded document, the volume and page number of the Copyright Office record where information on the recorded document can be found.
If you cannot provide a year of registration, registration number (or document number), and title for a work, Copyright Office records may have to be searched for purposes of verification. There is a fee for this service.
The Records Research and Certification section will review written requests and quote fees for each. Include your daytime telephone number, mailing and email addresses, and fax number so a Copyright Office staff member can contact you. Written requests must also comply with any special requirements.
How long until you receive your request?
Depending on the type of service, how many items are being requested, and if expedited service was paid for will impact turnaround times. If you need materials for litigation, we suggest that you let us know the court date and we will advise you when the order can be completed.
What one needs to know about services/Types of services
Upon written request and payment, the Copyright Office will prepare certified or uncertified copies of certain public records. To ensure your request is fulfilled in a timely manner, clearly specify the records you want. Doing so is important, because searches require payment of a fee to addition to the certification fee and the copying fee. No search fee is required if you can provide a registration number or, for recorded documents, a volume and document or page number.
Difference between certified and uncertified
When the Copyright Office certifies a copy of a record, it attaches a statement under the seal of the Copyright Office attesting that the document is a true copy of the record in question. Certified copies are often requested as evidence of the authenticity of documents when litigation is involved.
Uncertified copies of a record does not have a statement of certification under the seal of the Copyright Office. They are often requested when someone needs a personal copy of the record.