Records Research and Certification Section — Litigation 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.

More Information

For detailed information on the procedure for requesting a search report, an inspection, or copies of the Office’s records and deposit materials, see 37 C.F.R. § 201.2 and Chapter 2400 of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition. Applicable fees are set forth in 37 C.F.R. § 201.3.

General Requests

How do I obtain copies of a registration record (other than deposit materials) or recordation record?

Any member of the public may, upon request, obtain copies of completed registration or recordation records, as well as a search report. When you submit your request, state your name and contact information, the registration number and/or recordation volume and document number, the title(s) of the work(s), and the author and/or claimant’s name if known, whether you need certification, and whether the material is needed on an expedited basis. Requests for in-process registration and recordation records are granted to authorized persons only. Generally, to obtain copies of in-process registration applications, you must be the copyright claimant or his or her authorized representative, and, for copies of in-process documents, you must be a party who executed the document or his or her authorized representative.


Only authorized persons may receive copies of deposit materials. Persons authorized to receive copies of deposit materials include the copyright claimant of record or his or her designated agent, or an attorney representing the plaintiff or defendant in litigation involving the deposit materials. If you are the copyright claimant of record, the Office will provide a certified or uncertified reproduction of your deposit materials upon request if the work is still in the Office’s custody. If you are the designated agent of the copyright claimant of record, your request must include written authorization from the copyright claimant of record. For more information on how to obtain a copy of deposit materials in connection with litigation see Requests Related to Litigation below.

If you are not the copyright claimant or his or her designated agent, or an attorney representing a party in litigation involving the deposit materials, you are not authorized to receive a copy but you may inspect these types of records at the USCO offices in Washington, DC.



Requests Related to Litigation

How do I obtain copies of search reports and/or registration records (other than deposit materials) or recordation records for use in litigation?

To obtain copies of completed registration or recordation records, as well as search reports, submit a written request, including your name and contact information, the registration number and/or recordation volume and document number, the title(s) of the work(s), and the author and/or claimant’s name if known, whether you need certification, and whether the material is needed on an expedited basis.


Only authorized persons may obtain copies of deposit materials. Complete and submit Form LS if you need a copy of deposit material that is in the Office’s custody for use in actual litigation. In section 2C of that form, provide the nature of the controversy, the name of the court where proceedings have been instituted, the docket number, and the case caption.


How do I obtain copies of deposit materials for use in prospective litigation in the United States?

Only authorized persons may obtain copies of deposit materials. Complete and submit Form LS if you need a copy of deposit material that is in the Office’s custody for use in a legal dispute where an actual lawsuit has not yet been filed. In section 2D of that form, provide a full statement of the facts surrounding the controversy and confirm that the copy will be used only in connection with the dispute specified in the request. Attach additional documentation, such as cease and desist letters or draft complaints, that support your claim that litigation may be instituted.


How do I obtain copies of records (certificates of registration, recorded documents, etc.) or deposit materials for use in international litigation?

Foreign litigants must complete and submit Form LS and must satisfy the same requirements that apply to litigants in the United States.

Before submitting a request for records or other materials in the Office’s custody for use in foreign litigation, requesting parties should determine what kind of documents are needed, and will be fully accepted, by the foreign jurisdiction, including any necessary and appropriate authentication processes. For example, some countries require authentication by the U.S. Department of State and/or “consularization of documents” or other authentication by that country’s embassy. The Office cannot assist with any legal determinations as to what type of materials or what type of authentication may be needed for use in a specific foreign jurisdiction or a particular legal dispute.