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COMPENDIUM: Chapter 1400

Applications and Filing Fees

1401 What This Chapter Covers

This Chapter provides a general overview of the types of applications that may be used to register a work of authorship created or first published on or after January 1, 1978. It also discusses the filing fees for applying to register a work. For a detailed discussion of the U.S. Copyright Office’s registration practices, see the following chapters:

1402 Applications

To seek a copyright registration for a work of authorship, an applicant must provide the U.S. Copyright Office with a completed application, deposit copy(ies), and filing fee. This Section discusses the different types of copyright applications.

1402.1 Statutory Basis for the Application

The Copyright Act gives the Register of Copyrights the authority to create applications and to specify administrative classes of works for registration. See 17 U.S.C. §§ 408(c)(1), 409. Pursuant to this authority, the U.S. Copyright Office has created certain administrative classes for purposes of registration, including literary works, works of the performing arts, and works of the visual arts, among others. The Office has created different versions of the online application and different paper forms for different classes of works. Registration is administered by the Office’s Registration Program, which includes three divisions: Literary, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts. Applications are assigned to one of the Registration Program’s three divisions, depending on the classification of the work.

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NOTE: The administrative classes are solely for administrative purposes, and they have no bearing on the substantive subject matter of copyright or the exclusive rights provided by the copyright law. See 17 U.S.C. § 408(c)(1).

1402.2 Statutory Requirements for Applications

Section 409 of the Copyright Act states that “[t]he application for copyright registration shall be made on a form prescribed by the Register of Copyrights.” 17 U.S.C. § 409. Although the Register of Copyrights has been given discretion in how to organize and establish the requirements for the Standard Application (which is discussed in Section 1402.4 below), Section 409 of the Copyright Act sets forth certain elements that must be contained in this form:

  1. The name and address of the copyright claimant;
  2. In the case of a work other than an anonymous or pseudonymous work, the name and nationality or domicile of the author or authors, and, if one or more of the authors is dead, the dates of their deaths;
  3. If the work is anonymous or pseudonymous, the nationality or domicile of the author or authors;
  4. In the case of a work made for hire, a statement to this effect;
  5. If the copyright claimant is not the author, a brief statement of how the claimant obtained ownership of the copyright;
  6. The title of the work, together with any previous or alternative titles under which the work can be identified;
  7. The year in which creation of the work was completed;
  8. If the work has been published, the date and nation of its first publication; and
  9. In the case of a compilation or derivative work, an identification of any preexisting work or works that it is based on or incorporates, and a brief, general statement of the additional material covered by the copyright claim being registered.

17 U.S.C. § 409(1-9). The statute also allows the Register to request additional information in the application process. Specifically, it grants the Register broad authority to require “any other information [that] bear[s] upon the preparation or identification of the work or the existence, ownership, or duration of the copyright.” Id. § 409(10).

The Office offers other applications that request some — but not all — of the information listed in Section 409, such as the Single Application (which is discussed in Section 1402.5). These specialized forms do not request all of the information listed in Section 409, because in order to use these applications certain types of information cannot be present in the claim. For example, an applicant cannot use the Single

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Application to register a work created by an individual author who transferred his or her copyright to another party. Thus, there is no need to request “a brief statement of how the claimant obtained ownership of the copyright” in this type of application.

Section 408(c)(1) of the Copyright Act authorizes the Register to establish an administrative procedure for registering a group of related of works. Section 408(d) authorizes the Register to establish a procedure for issuing a supplementary registration to correct an error in an existing registration or to amplify the information given in an existing registration. Congress gave the Register the discretion to develop an appropriate application for these types of registrations. See 17 U.S.C. § 408(c)(1), (d). The application requirements for the various group registration options that the U.S. Copyright Office currently offers are discussed in Chapter 1100, while the application requirements for a supplementary registration are discussed in Chapter 1800.

1402.3 Registration Type Governs Which Application to Use

The U.S. Copyright Office currently offers the types of applications described below. An applicant should choose an application based on whether he or she is seeking a basic registration, a group registration, a supplementary registration, a renewal registration, or a GATT registration. For a definition and discussion of each type of registration, see Chapter 200, Section 202.1.

An application for a basic registration covers a work of authorship created or first published on or after January 1, 1978. This type of registration may be obtained with one of the following types of applications:

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the copyright in the work is solely owned by the author of that work and provided that the work is not a work made for hire.

NOTE: Single Applications are available only through the Office’s online filing system and generally are easier to complete than the Standard Application.

1402.4 Standard Applications

The U.S. Copyright Office offers two methods for filing Standard Applications: (i) via the Office’s online registration system, or (ii) using traditional paper forms. The Office strongly encourages applicants to use the online application instead of paper forms. It takes less time for the Office to process online applications and the filing fees are lower.

This Section provides a brief overview of the online application and the paper applications. For specific information on how to complete the various fields and spaces in these applications, see Chapter 600.

1402.4(A) The Online Application

The U.S. Copyright Office’s online registration system allows applicants to input the information necessary to apply for a basic registration. The online application contains templates that provide different options depending on the information entered. The application process begins with determining the class of work that the applicant wishes to register. These classes are listed under a drop down menu marked Type of Work and include the following:

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NOTE: The Office only registers sound recordings that were fixed on or after February 15, 1972. For information concerning this issue, see Chapter 800, Section 803.5(D).

1402.4(B) Paper Applications

While the U.S. Copyright Office prefers online applications, which are processed much more quickly and efficiently, applicants still may use paper applications for most types of registrations.

NOTE: The Office only registers sound recordings that were fixed on or after February 15, 1972. For information concerning this issue, see Chapter 800, Section 803.5(D).

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1402.4(C) Multiple Types of Works

For both the online application and paper applications, an applicant may use one application to register different types of authorship. For example, an applicant may register a claim for a book that includes both text and photographs using one application, under certain circumstances. In such a case, the applicant should select the type of work or the paper application that corresponds to the predominant form of authorship in that work. For instance, if the applicant intends to register a novel that contains only a few photographs, the applicant should select Literary Work when completing an online application, or should use Form TX when completing a paper application. If the book mostly contains photographs with a small amount of text, the applicant should select Work of the Visual Arts when completing an online application or should use Form VA when completing a paper application. If the types of authorship are roughly equal, the applicant may choose the type of work or the paper application that would be appropriate for either type of authorship. The one exception is for a claim that includes any sound recording authorship. In this case, the applicant must select Sound Recording in the Type of Work field (in the case of an online application) or must use Form SR (in the case of a paper application), regardless of whether sound recording is the predominant form of authorship in the work. See 37 C.F.R. § 202.3(b)(2)(ii)(C).

1402.5 Single Applications

For works created by a single author who wishes to register one work that was not created as a work made for hire, the U.S. Copyright Office developed a more simple application that requires less information than the Standard Application. This application is available only through the online registration system.

For guidance in determining whether an applicant is eligible to use the Single Application, see Chapter 600, Section 609.1.

1402.6 Group Registration Applications

As a general rule, applicants should file separate applications, deposit copy(ies), and filing fees for each work they seek to register. In certain limited circumstances, there are options available for registering groups of related works with one application, one filing fee, and one set of deposit copies. In some cases, these group registration options have specific application requirements, which are discussed below.

1402.6(A) Group Registration of Serials: Online Application / Form SE/Group

Serials are works issued, or intended to be issued, in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely and include but are not limited to periodicals, newspapers, magazines, bulletins, newsletters, annuals, blogs, journals, and proceedings of societies that are created as works made for hire.

In certain cases, an applicant may register a group of serials by using an online application or a paper application submitted on Form SE/Group. For information concerning the registration requirements for this group registration option, see Chapter 1100, Sections 1109.2 through 1109.5. For guidance in completing an application to register a group of serials, see Chapter 1100, Section 1109.7.

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1402.6(B) Group Registration of Daily Newspapers and Daily Newsletters: Form G/DN

In certain cases, applicants may register a group of daily newspapers or a group of daily newsletters by using a paper application submitted on Form G/DN. At present, applicants may not use the online application to register a group of newspapers or newsletters.

Newspapers are a specific type of serial mainly designed to be a primary source of written information on current events (whether local, national, or international in scope) that contain a broad range of news on all subjects and activities that are not limited to any specific subject matter and are intended for the general public or a particular group.

Newsletters are a specific type of serial that are published and distributed by mail or electronic media at least two days per week and that contain information of interest chiefly to a special group (including trade and professional associations, corporations, schools, colleges, and churches). Newsletters generally are available by subscription and are unavailable on newsstands.

For information concerning the registration requirements for these group registration options, see Chapter 1100, Sections 1110 and 1111 For guidance in completing Form G/DN, see Chapter 1100, Section 1112.

1402.6(C) Group Registration of Contributions to Periodicals: Form GR/CP

In certain cases, applicants may register a group of contributions to periodicals by submitting Form TX, VA, PA, or SR (depending on the type of work), together with Form GR/CP. At present, applicants may not use the online application to register a group of contributions to periodicals.

For information concerning the registration requirements for this group registration option, see Chapter 1100, Section 1115. For guidance in completing the application, see Chapter 1100, Section 1115.7.

1402.6(D) Group Registration of Published Photographs: Online Application / Form GR/PPh/CON

In certain cases, applicants may register a group of published photographs with one application, one filing fee, and one set of deposit copies.

An applicant may register a group of photographs with the online application, provided that the applicant contacts the Visual Arts Division at (202) 707-8202 to coordinate the filing and to obtain proper guidance concerning the information that should be included in the online application and the proper method for submitting the deposit copies. See Registration of Claims to Copyright, 43 Fed. Reg. 763, 4075 (Jan. 24, 2011).

In the alternative, an applicant may register a group of photographs with a paper application submitted on Form VA. An applicant may use Form GR/PPh/CON to provide titles, publication dates, and other identifying information for each photograph in the Chapter 1400: 12 12/22/2014 group. Completing Form GR/PPh/CON is optional, although it does provide certain advantages that are discussed in Chapter 1100, Section 1116.2.

For information concerning the registration requirements for this group registration option, see Chapter 1100, Section 1116. For guidance in completing a paper application, see Chapter 1100, Section 1116.6.

1402.7 Supplementary Registration Applications: Form CA

Supplementary registrations correct or amplify the information on an earlier registration as follows:

An application for a supplementary registration is not appropriate: (i) if the work has been revised, (ii) to reflect corrections have been made to statements appearing on the copy(ies) or phonorecords; (iii) as a substitute for a renewal registration; (iv) as a substitute for recording a transfer or other document pertaining to copyright ownership; or (v) if a work was registered as unpublished but was actually published at the time of the basic registration.

Supplementary registrations may be used only with certain types of registrations. As a general rule, any basic registration, group registration, renewal registration, or GATT registration may be the subject of a supplementary registration, unless the registration has expired or unless the registration been cancelled or abandoned.

Applicants must use a paper application submitted on Form CA to apply for a supplementary application. At present, applicants may not use the online application to seek a supplementary registration.

For more information on supplementary registrations, see Chapter 1800, Section 1802. For guidance in completing Form CA, see Chapter 1800, Section 1802.8.

1402.8 Renewal Registration Applications: Form RE and RE/Addendum

The U.S. Copyright Office offers renewal registrations for works that were first published or registered prior to 1978. The 1909 Act made works copyrighted in the United States before January 1, 1978 subject to a renewal system whereby the term of copyright was divided into two consecutive terms with separate registration requirements. The current Copyright Act that came into effect on January 1, 1978 retained the renewal system for works that were copyrighted before 1978 and were still in their first term on January 1, 1978. Renewal registration may still be obtained for pre-1978 Chapter 1400: 13 12/22/2014 works in their renewal term. For an extensive discussion of registration of renewal claims, see Chapter 2100.

The Office provides paper application forms for renewal registration. Form RE is the general renewal form, and Form RE / Addendum is required for works that were not registered with the Office during their initial term. At present, applicants cannot file for renewal registration using the online registration system.

1402.9 GATT Registration Applications: Form GATT

Applicants may use Form GATT to register a copyright claim in a work that was restored under the 1994 Uruguay Round Agreements Act (“URAA”), codified as Section 104A of the Copyright Act. 17 U.S.C. § 104A. Applicants may use Form GATT to register the following types of works:

For more information on GATT applications, see Chapter 2000, Section 2007.2.

1402.10 Additional Information Regarding Paper Applications

When using a paper application, applicants should consider the issues discussed in Sections 1402.10(A) and 1402.10(B).

1402.10(A) Quality and Legibility of the Application

A paper application becomes a permanent part of the U.S. Copyright Office’s official records and must meet archival standards and be legible. Thus, applicants must use the Office’s forms when submitting a paper application. Additionally, information required by the application must be legible and should be typewritten or printed in black ink. Applicants who anticipate filing a large number of applications may place certain repetitive information on the applications they submit by using a printing process. Applications completed in pencil or using carbon paper or the equivalent generally are unacceptable.

1402.10(B) Continuation Sheets: Form CON

If an applicant needs more space when completing Forms CA, PA, SE, SR, TX, and VA, the applicant should use Form CON to provide additional information.

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1403 Filing Fees

1403.1 Statutory Basis for Setting Filing Fees

Since 1997, the U.S. Copyright Office has undertaken a series of studies to determine what fees to charge for specific services relating to registration. The Office revisits its schedule of fees approximately every three years, a process during which it seeks public comment, adopts some fees, and makes recommendations for other fees to Congress.

The majority of the Office’s fee adjustments are guided by Section 708(b) of the Copyright Act, which states that, before adjusting certain fees, the Register must conduct a study of the Office’s costs for registering claims and must consider the timing of any fee adjustments and the Office’s authority to use the fees consistent with the Office’s budget. Section 708(b) also states that the Register may, based on the results of the fee study, adjust some fees “not more than necessary to cover the reasonable costs incurred by the Copyright Office for … services … plus a reasonable inflation adjustment to account for any estimated increase in costs.” Finally, Section 708(b) mandates that certain fees “shall be fair and equitable and give due consideration to the objectives of the copyright system.”

1403.2 Where to Find Specific Filing Fee Information

The U.S. Copyright Office publishes its fee schedule in Section 201.3 of Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The fee schedule also is posted on the Office’s website at

1403.3 Submitting Filing Fees

When filing claims via the U.S. Copyright Office’s online registration system, the applicant will be prompted to provide payment on the Online Payment screen. Applicants who submit paper applications should provide a deposit account number in the appropriate space of the application or should submit the filing fees in the same envelope or package with the application and deposit copy(ies). For more specific information regarding deposit accounts, see Section 1403.5 below.

1403.4 Acceptable Forms of Payment

The U.S. Copyright Office has issued regulations regarding acceptable forms of payment for filing fees. See 37 C.F.R. § 201.6(a).

Applicants using the Office’s online registration system to file applications may pay fees by making a secure payment by credit or debit card, electronic check, or U.S. Copyright Office deposit account.

Applicants submitting paper applications may pay fees from a deposit account or by using checks, money orders, or bank drafts payable to the Register of Copyrights. Payment in cash may be made only in person at the Public Information Office.

Fees paid from a foreign country should be in the form of an international money order or bank check payable and immediately negotiable in the United States for the full Chapter 1400: 15 12/22/2014 amount of the fee required. All foreign checks or money orders must be redeemable without a service or exchange fee through a U.S. institution, payable in U.S. dollars, and imprinted with American Banking Association routing numbers. See id.

Postal money orders and international money orders that are negotiable only at a post office are not acceptable. Uncertified checks are accepted subject to collection. Where the statutory fee is submitted in the form of a check, the registration of the copyright claim or other record made by the Office is provisional until payment is received.

Receipt of valid fees is very important because it affects the effective date and validity of a registration. The effective date of registration will be the date the valid payment is received, provided that the applicant satisfied the minimum requirements for an acceptable application and deposit copy(ies) as of that date. In the event the filing fee is not paid, the registration or other record shall be expunged.

1403.5 Deposit Accounts

The U.S. Copyright Office maintains a system of deposit accounts for the convenience of those who frequently use the Office’s services. The system allows an individual or firm to establish a deposit account with the Office and to make advance deposits into the account. Charges for registration, recordation, or other fee services will be deducted from the outstanding balance in such accounts. See 37 C.F.R § 201.6(b) for the Office’s regulations regarding deposit accounts.

Only certain applicants may take advantage of deposit accounts. Specifically, a person or entity must have twelve or more transactions a year with the Office before they may prepay copyright expenses by establishing a deposit account. The Office and the deposit account holder will cooperatively determine an appropriate minimum balance for the deposit account (in no case less than $450), and the Office will automatically notify the deposit account holder if the account falls below that balance.

Deposit account holders may take measures to protect against falling below the account minimum. The holder may authorize the Office to automatically replenish the account from the holder’s bank account or credit card in an amount determined by the deposit account holder. Automatic replenishment will be triggered when the deposit account falls below the minimum level of funding. The Office will notify the account holder when its account will be replenished.

The Office will close a deposit account the second time an account holder overdraws the account within any twelve-month period. An account closed for this reason can be reopened only if the account holder agrees to fund the account through automatic replenishment.

1403.6 Refunds

The U.S. Copyright Office will not refund fees submitted for applications for basic, supplementary, or renewal registration, including mask works and vessel designs, if the Office refuses to register the claim because the material deposited does not constitute copyrightable subject matter or because the claim is invalid for any other Chapter 1400: 16 12/22/2014 reason. See 37 C.F.R. § 201.6(c). The Office may refund payments made by mistake or in excess of the fee, depending upon the timing of the request or other factors, but amounts of $50 or less will not be refunded unless specifically requested.

1403.7 Cancellation of Registration in Cases of Dishonored Checks

When a check received in payment of the filing fee is returned to the U.S. Copyright Office marked “insufficient funds” or is otherwise marked uncollectible, the Office may cancel any registration for which the dishonored check was submitted. 37 C.F.R. 201.7(c)(2).

The Office will notify an applicant in writing if the check could not be collected. If the filing fee is received within forty-five days from the date set forth in the notice, the Office will issue a new certificate of registration. The effective date of registration for the new certificate will be the date that the filing fee was received.

If the Office does not receive a filing fee within forty-five days, the Office will cancel the registration. If the applicant would like to resubmit the work for registration, the applicant should file a new application, together with new deposit copy(ies) and the correct filing fee. In appropriate cases, the Office reserves the right to require a certified check or money order, and in all cases, the effective date of registration will be based on the date that the new submission is received by the Office.

For additional information concerning this procedure, see Chapter 1800, Section 1806.4(B).

1403.8 Special Handling Fees

The U.S. Copyright Office offers expedited handling of applications and documents, as well as requests for searches, certifications, or other services. The Office charges an additional fee for expedited services, called a special handling fee. The current fees for these services are set forth in the Office’s fee schedule under the heading “Special Services” ( For detailed information on these fees, see Chapter 600, Section 623.6 and Chapter 2400, Section 2411.3.

The special handling fee must be paid for each application, each document, or other service for which expedited service is requested and granted. Once a request for special handling has been granted, the special handling fee is not refundable, regardless of whether the Office issues a certificate of registration or a certificate of recordation or refuses to register or refuses to record the document.