Copyright:
Register Online

Part 2: Protect:
2.4 Register Online

Can I register my copyright online?

“Online registration through the electronic Copyright Office (eCO) is the preferred way to register basic claims.. Advantages of online filing include:

  • a lower filing fee
  • the fastest processing time
  • online status tracking
  • secure payment by credit or debit card, electronic check
  • the ability to upload certain categories of deposits directly into eCO as electronic files

U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 1

Can I pay by credit card?

“If an application is submitted online, payment may be made by credit card or Copyright Office deposit account. If an application is submitted on a paper application form, the fee may not be charged to a credit card.”
U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 1

Advantages include:

  • Lower filing fee of $35 for a basic claim (for online filings only)
  • Fastest processing time
  • Online status tracking
  • Secure payment by credit or debit card, electronic check, or Copyright Office deposit account
  • The ability to upload certain categories of deposits directly into eCO as electronic files
  • Available 24 hours a day, except for routine maintenance every Sunday from 12:00 midnight to 6:00 AM Eastern Time

U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

File Types

“If the type of file you plan to upload or mail is not included in this list, you must convert the file to an acceptable file type.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Click here for the current list of acceptable file types.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

[For Photos:]

  • .bmp (Bitmap Image)
  • .dwg (AutoCAD Drawing)
  • .gif, .giff (Graphics Interchange Format)
  • .jpg, .jpeg, .jfif (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
  • .pdf (Portable Document Format)
  • .pic, .pict (Picture File)
  • .png (Portable Network Graphic)
  • .psd (Photoshop Document)
  • .tif, .tiff (Tagged Image File Format)

U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Text

  • .doc (Microsoft Word Document)*
  • .docx (Microsoft Word Open XML Document)*
  • .htm, .html (HyperText Markup Language)
  • .pdf (Portable Document Format)
  • .rtf (Rich Text Document)
  • .txt (Text File)
  • .wpd (WordPerfect Document)
  • .wps (Microsoft Works Word Processor Document)**

U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Compressed

  • .cab (Windows Cabinet File)
  • .rar (Compressed Archive)
  • .zip (Zipped File)

U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

“* For Microsoft Office files, please use version 2003 or earlier.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Source: www.copyright.gov/eco/help-file-types.html
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Photographers’ Rights

Part 2: Protect:
2.4 Register Online:
eCO Tips

Uploading Multiple or Large Files

“The “browse and select” window enables you to upload individual files. If you have a large number of files, we recommend that you create one or more ZIP files; if you have a very large file, we recommend that you break it up into two or more smaller files. The system has a 30-minute upload time out that, depending on your connection speed, limits the size/number of files that can be uploaded in one session.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Mailing Deposit Copies

“To avoid damage to your deposit due to Capitol Hill security measures, please package the following items in boxes rather than envelopes for mailing to the Copyright Office:

  • Electronic media such as audiocassettes, videocassettes, CDs, and DVDs
  • Microform
  • Photographs
  • Slick advertisements, color photocopies, and other print items that are rubber- and vegetable-based

U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

“Also please note that CDs/DVDs packaged in standard full-sized jewel boxes are more likely to survive the mail radiation process than those packaged in slim-line cases.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Source: www.copyright.gov/eco/tips.pdf
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Part 2: Protect:
2.4 Register Online:
eCO FAQ

Registering a Claim in eCO

Uploading Electronic Files in eCO

Submitting Hard Copies of Works

Who can use eCO to register claims?

“Anyone can use eCO to register basic claims to copyright, even those who intend to submit a hard copy(ies) of the work(s) being registered. Basic claims include literary works, visual arts works, performing arts works, sound recordings,motion pictures, and single serial issues. At this time, the following types of registration are not available in eCO: renewals, corrections, mask works, vessel hulls, groups of serial issues, groups of newspaper/newsletter issues, groups of database updates, and groups of contributions to periodicals.For information about registering these types, see the Copyright Office website.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Do I need an email address to file electronically through eCO?

“Yes. One of the requirements for establishing an eCO account is to provide an email address. That email address is not available on the public record.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

What kinds of claims can be registered in eCO?

“Currently eCO accepts basic registrations only, including (a) any single work or (b) a collection of unpublished works by the same author and owned by the same claimant, or (c) multiple published works contained in the same unit of publication and owned by the same claimant. (Examples: A compact disk containing 10 songs; a book of poems)”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

What are the process steps for registering a claim in eCO?

“Registering a claim to copyright via eCO involves three steps in the following order:

  1. Complete an application
  2. Pay the associated fee (Pay online with credit/debit card or ACH transfer via Pay.gov, or with a deposit account)
  3. Submit your work

U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

“Keep in mind that payment is required before the system will prompt you to upload copies of yourwork(s) as an electronic file or print out a shipping slip if you intend to submit a hard copy of your work.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

What works may be registered with electronic deposits?

“The following classes of works may be registered in eCO with electronic deposit copies:

  • Unpublished works;
  • Works published only electronically;
  • Published works for which the deposit requirement is ID material (see the Special Deposit Requirements section of Circular 1 for more on ID material);
  • Published works for which there are special agreements requiring the hard copy deposits to be sent separately to the Library of Congress.

U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

“All other classes of works may be registered via eCO (application and fee payment) but require hardcopies of the work(s) being registered.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Can I register a collection of works with a single application?

“A collection of works may be registered with a single application if either of the following requirements is met:

  1. The collection is made up of unpublished works by the same author and owned by the same claimant; or
  2. The collection is made up of multiple published works contained in the same unit of publication and owned by the same claimant.

U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Which browsers does eCO support?

“The eCO system is designed to work with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 and Netscape Navigator 7.02. Firefox 2.0 users must adjust the Tabs setting to “New pages should be opened in: a new window.” The Tabs setting is under Tools/Options for Firefox for PCs and under Preferences for Firefox for Macs. The Safari and Google Chrome browser ARE NOT currently certified for use with the eCO system. Other browsers such as Opera and Konqueror may work with the eCO system.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Do I need to configure my browser before using eCO?

“Before getting started be sure to check your browser’s settings and make the following adjustments as necessary:

  • Disable your browser’s pop-up blocker.
  • Disable any 3rd party toolbars (e.g., Google or Yahoo Toolbar).
  • Set your security and privacy settings to MEDIUM.

U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Can I check the status of a claim registered via eCO?

“Login to eCO and click on the blue case number associated with your claim in the Open Cases table at the bottom of the Welcome screen to view the Case Summary associated with the claim.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

I have duplicate information to submit for several claims. Is there a way I can keep from entering this data multiple times?

“Yes. When you register a New Claim you can elect to save it as a Template. This is a very useful tool when you have duplicate information to enter for several claims.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

“You must first “Register a New Claim” in order to create a Template. When you have completed filling in all required information on all screens, and you are at the “Review Submission” screen, look for the “Save Template” button. Click on it and follow the screen prompts.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Part 2: Protect:
2.4 Register Online:
Uploading Electronic Files in eCO

How do I upload an electronic copy of my work in eCO?

“When payment is complete, you will see the “Payment Successful” screen. If not, refer to the Troubleshooting section).

  • Make sure the pop-up blocker on your browser is turned off. (IMPORTANT NOTE: The “Electronic Deposit Upload” window will not appear if your pop-up blocker is enabled.)
  • Click the “Next” button on the upper right of the Payment Successful screen.
  • Click the “Upload Deposit” link in the “Deposit Submission” table. Click “browse” to select the file(s) you wish to upload (that is, send to eCO electronically).

U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

What file types are acceptable?

Click here for the current list of acceptable file types.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Is there a maximum file size that can be uploaded in one session?

“Yes. The eCO system has a 60-minute upload time out that limits the size of files that can be uploaded in one session. See the table below forguidance.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

“The maximum file size that can be uploaded within 60 minutes will vary depending on the method and speed of your connection to the Internet, i.e. dial up users will typically experience longer upload times than high speed internet users.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

How do I upload multiple files?

“The ‘Electronic Deposit Upload’ window in eCO enables you to browse for and select files one at a time, then upload them as a group in one ‘session’. (See the table above for the total file size that can be uploaded in one session.)”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

What if the files for a single case are too large to be uploaded in a single session?

“If you attempt to upload one or more files whose total exceeds the maximum that can be transmitted within 60 minutes, you will see a message alerting you that files selected are too large for successful upload in one session. If you have one or more very large files, we recommend that you:

  • Compress the file(s) by zipping them.
  • Break large files into two or more smaller files so that the total is less than the maximum size for uploading.
  • Upload multiple deposit files in more than one session: after files are submitted, close the “Upload” window, click the Upload Deposit link for the same case in the Deposit Submission table, then select and upload more files. Repeat these steps until all files for thecase have been submitted.

U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Part 2: Protect:
2.4 Register Online:
Submitting Hard Copies of Works

I register works that require hardcopy deposits to satisfy Library of Congress deposit regulations. How do I do that in eCO?

“You may submit an application and payment in eCO and then create and print a shipping slip to be attached to the hard copy(ies) of your work for delivery to the Copyright Office via mail/courier.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

“The shipping slip includes the correct mailing address and zip code for the class of work(s) being registered. To avoid misrouting, please be sure to attach a shipping slip directly to each work or set of works that you submit.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

What does “best edition” mean?

“The copyright law (title 17, United States Code) requires that copies or phonorecords deposited in the Copyright Office be of the “best edition” of the work. For more on “best edition,” see Circular 7B: Best Edition of Published Copyrighted Works for the Collections of the Library of Congress.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Are there special instructions forpackaging copies of my work(s) for mail/courier delivery?

“To avoid damage to your deposit due to Capitol Hill security measures, please package the following items in boxes rather than envelopes for mailing to the Copyright Office:”

  • Electronic media such as audiocassettes, videocassettes, CDs, and DVDs
  • Microform
  • Photographs
  • Slick advertisements, color photocopies, and other print items that are rubber- and vegetable-based

U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

“Also please note that CDs/DVDs packaged in standard full-sized jewel boxes are more likely to survive the mail radiation process than those packaged in slim-line case.”
U.S. Copyright Office, eCO Online System

Part 2: Protect:
2.4 Register Online:
To Sort

Can foreigners register their works in the United States?

“Any work that is protected by U.S. copyright law can be registered. This includes many works of foreign origin. All works that are unpublished, regardless of the nationality of the author, are protected in the United States.”
U.S. Copyright Office, FAQ

Can a minor claim copyright?

“Minors may claim copyright, and the U.S. Copyright Office issues registrations to minors, but state laws may regulate the business dealings involving copyrights owned by minors. For information on relevant state laws, consult an attorney.”
U.S. Copyright Office, FAQ

Do I have to renew my copyright?

“No. Works created on or after January 1, 1978, are not subject to renewal registration. As to works published or registered prior to January 1, 1978, renewal registration is optional after 28 years but does provide certain legal advantages.”
U.S. Copyright Office, FAQ

Who is an author?

“Under the copyright law, the creator of the original expression in a work is its author. The author is also the owner of copyright unless there is a written agreement by which the author assigns the copyright to another person or entity, such as a publisher. In cases of works made for hire, the employer or commissioning party is considered to be the author.”
U.S. Copyright Office, FAQ

What is publication?

“Publication has a technical meaning in copyright law. According to the statute, “Publication is the distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. The offering to distribute copies or phonorecords to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display constitutes publication. A public performance or display of a work does not of itself constitute publication.” Generally, publication occurs on the date on which copies of the work are first made available to the public. For further information see Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Publication.””
U.S. Copyright Office, FAQ

Next: Register Copyright Deposit »

Next page: eCO: The Electronic Copyright Office

Comments

Comments


Reply by Anonymous

April 1, 2016

I have a logo, I would like copywritten.


Reply by Andrew Hudson, PhotoSecrets

April 4, 2016

As artwork, your logo is already copywritten. All artwork gets automatic copyright protection upon creation.

For logos that represent a business, the more appropriate protection is trademark. This prevents competing businesses from using your logo (or name) to sell similar products or services. (The law is intended to protect “customer confusion”). You can apply online at USPTO. The cost is around at least $225 and, to avoid being rejected, you probably need an attorney to assist.

Note that copyright is automatic and free; whereas trademark has to be applied for (and approved), and paid for.


Reply by Jamal

March 12, 2015

Hi!

Please let me know whether or not I will be able to get copyrights for an image straight away as soon as I file the registration? OR i will only be able to get them after the registration process is complete? that is 8 months for online registration! It’s very long process.. I have pics for NASA I wish to have them in their magazine also going to publish my project with SEM images and want copyrights reserved for those pics in next few months! PLEASE comment! Thank you!


Reply by Andrew Hudson, PhotoSecrets

March 13, 2015

Hi Jamal,

Yes, you get copyright straight away. Copyright is automatic, as soon as you take the photo. Registration of your copyright gives you additional legal protection (in the U.S.). That protection starts when you file the registration (not when the process is complete).

“When the Copyright Office issues a registration certificate, it assigns as the effective date of registration the date it received all required elements in acceptable form, regardless of how long it took to process the application and mail the certificate of registration.”

U.S. Copyright Office


Reply by Anonymous

January 26, 2015

What if you found out that someone was registering your photos without your permission. No copyright assignments were signed giving them permission to claim rights to them.


Reply by Andrew Hudson, PhotoSecrets

January 27, 2015

Hi,

By “registering”, do you mean registering the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office? This is unusual, and would be fraud. If so, you can resolve this at copyright.gov.

If your work is appearing on reputable websites without your permission (and with someone else’s name attached), then you can get the images removed. All major U.S. websites offer a quick and easy approach (this is a legal requirement; it’s called a “DMCA Takedown Notice”). Look under “Help” or “Legal”. For example, here is the link for Facebook.

If you know who is claiming to own your photos, you can start a legal process with a cease-and-desist letter.

Good luck,

Andrew


Reply by Gail

March 18, 2014

You wrote that the photos in a collection must be taken the same year? Is it not possible to copyright photos that have been taken over a span of years at the same time? Say, from 3 July 2008 to 5 June 2011?


Reply by Andrew Hudson, PhotoSecrets

March 20, 2014

SAME YEAR

Hi Gail,

I’m not sure about the same year part. The U.S. Copyright Office says:

“To register a number of unpublished works with a single application and fee, they must be grouped as a collection under a Collection Title and … the ownership of every work in the collection must be the same.”
U.S. Copyright Office


Reply by Marcello Scotti

November 27, 2012

is this copyright protection valid internationally?


Reply by Andrew Hudson, PhotoSecrets

December 3, 2012

INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION

Hi Marcello,

Yes, effectively. Copyright protection is provided by individual countries, but most countries follow the basic terms, defined in the Berne Convention. E.g., if your copyright is infringed in Canada, you would have the same basic rights as in your home country, but you would have to sue in a court in Canada.

Best wishes,

Andrew


Reply by Joan

September 26, 2012

What if I get more pictures in the future? Do I have to pay 35.00 every time I want to add to the collection?


Reply by Andrew Hudson, PhotoSecrets

October 26, 2012

PICTURES IN THE FUTURE

Hi Joan:

Yes. It is $35 per submission. So build up a group of photos and submit them at once, to reduce your per-photo cost.

Andrew


Reply by Kimberly T.

June 14, 2012

Is it possible to register a volume of photos or is registration per individual photograph?


Reply by Andrew Hudson, PhotoSecrets

June 27, 2012

Yes, you can register a group of photos, for one fixed amount, $35 I think. You can group the photos in a folder (.zip) and submit the folder.


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