- it establishes a public record of the copyright claim
- it makes it easier for others to find and acknowledge your work
- it serves as a prerequisite for filing an infringement lawsuit in court
- it enables you to claim statutory damages and attorney fees if you register the work within three months after publication or before infringement occurs
- it protects against the importation of infringing copies (ex: bootleg DVDs)
In some cases, you can also register more than one work as a collection under a single application, such as if the works were originally published as a collection.
You can file online with the copyright office and pay a $35 fee, or you can register your work by submitting a Form CO and a non-returnable copy of your work along with a $50 fee. Keep in mind that if you register online, the Library of Congress still needs hard copies of a "best edition" of your work.
Submit your hard copies and paper applications to:
Library of Congress
U.S. Copyright Office
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington DC, 20559-****
For faster claim filing, add the zip code extension that applies to your work:
- 6222 for literary work
- 6211 for visual arts work
- 6233 for performing arts work
- 6238 for motion picture or other audiovisual work
- 6237 for sound recording
- 6226 for single serial issue
- 6601 for works sent in response to a mandatory deposit notice
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.