This article is from the Copyright Law FAQ, by Terry Carroll with numerous contributions by others.
To register a copyright, file the appropriate form with the U.S.
Copyright Office, including the payment for registration costs ($20).
For most types of work being published in the United States, two copies
of the work being registered must be deposited with the Copyright Office
for the use of the Library of Congress. Strictly speaking, the deposit
is not a requirement for copyright. However, failing to make the deposit
at time of publication can result in fines. Some works are exempt from
the deposit requirement.
Registration forms may be ordered by calling the Copyright Office Hotline
(see section 5.1). When the answering machine answers, leave a message
with your name and address, identifying the material you are ordering.
Ask for the form either by form number, or by Copyright Office
Information Package number. A Copyright Office Information Package is a
collection of information on registering copyright for a particular type
of work. It includes the appropriate forms, instructions for completing
them and other useful information.
Here is a list of commonly requested forms and Copyright Office
Information Packages, arranged by type of copyrighted work:
- Books, manuscripts and speeches and other nondramatic literary
works: Form TX, Package 109
- Computer programs: Form TX, Package 113
- Music (sheet or lyrics): Form PA, Package 105
- Music (sound recording): Form SR, Package 121
- Cartoons and comic strips: Form VA, Package 111
- Photographs: Form VA, Package 107
- Drawings, prints, and other works of visual arts: Form VA,
- Motion pictures and video recordings: Form PA, Package 110
- Dramatic scripts, plays, and screenplays: Form PA, Package 119
- Games: Form TX, Package 108