The Copyright Office has a relatively new electronic system for registering, called the eCO eService, which should be used if possible for registering basic claims to copyright, even if the deposit is not in digital format. You can register online registration with eCO by going to the home page of Copyright Office website at www.copyright.gov and clicking on the eCO icon. You will be asked to set up an account the first time you register online. You may then start the application; the form will walk you through each step and instructions are available. If you have a copy of the work in electronic form, you may submit it at the time you submit the online application.
The next best option for registering basic claims is the fill-in Form CO. This is a generic form for registration of a single work of the performing arts and visual arts as well as literary works, sound recordings, motion pictures, and single issue serials. The form can be found on the Copyright Office website www.copyright.gov. You should fill out the form on your personal computer, print it out, and mail it to the Copyright Office, together with the filing fee and deposit. As you fill out the form, a barcode is created on each page. The barcode is essential for ensuring that your application is processed timely and efficiently.
Old Forms Based on Type of Work:
The Copyright Office used to use separate paper forms for various types of works: e.g., Forms TX (literary works, including computer programs), PA (performing arts), SE (single serial/periodical issues), SR (sound recordings) and VA (works of visual art).
Effective Date of Registration:
Registration becomes effective on the date that the Copyright Office receives all the required elements in acceptable form, regardless of how long it takes to process the application and mail the certificate of registration. Note, however, that in some jurisdictions, including New York (but not California), a copyright owner can only sue for infringement after receiving the certificate of registration. Determine the law of the jurisdiction you are filing in before filing the law suit.