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I've Submitted My Application, Fee, and Copy of My Work to the Copyright Office. Now What?

How can I know when my submission for registration is received by the Copyright Office?

If you apply for copyright registration online, you will receive an email stating that your application has been received. Otherwise, the Copyright Office does not provide a confirmation of receipt. Currently, if you use a commercial carrier (such as Federal Express, Airborne Express, DHL Worldwide Express, or United Parcel Service), that company may be able to provide an acknowledgment of receipt by the Copyright Office. Due to the mail disruption, an acknowledgment of receipt for mail sent via the U.S. Postal Service, e.g., certified, registered and overnight delivery, may take several weeks or longer to receive. Claims to copyright may also be hand-delivered to the Copyright Office. See About the Office for hours and location.

Please note that our mail service is severely disrupted. (Read more details).

How long does the registration process take, and when will I receive my certificate?

The time the Copyright Office requires to process an application varies, depending on the number of applications the Office is receiving and clearing at the time of submission and the extent of questions associated with the application. Current processing times are:

Average Processing Time for e-Filing: 2.5 months

Average Processing Time for Paper Forms: 5.6 months

Note: For works that are determined to be copyrightable and that meet all legal and procedural requirements for registration, the effective date of registration is the date the Copyright Office received the completed application, correct payment, and copy(ies) of the work being registered in acceptable form. You do not need to wait for a certificate to proceed with publication.

Please note that our mail service is severely disrupted.(Read more details.)

I’ve been getting solicitation letters from publishers. Is the Copyright Office selling my personal information?
The Copyright Office does not sell information. Copyright Office records, however, are public records, which means anyone may come to our office and inspect them. Occasionally organizations such as music publishers or book publishers send a representative to the Copyright Office to compile lists of names and addresses of those authors who have most recently registered their works. Their purpose, undoubtedly, is to solicit new business. This practice is not a violation of the law.

Note: The Copyright Office offers introductory answers to frequently asked questions about copyright, registration, and services of the Office. Links throughout the answers will guide you to further information on our website or from other sources. For any other questions, please visit our Contact Us page.