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Copyright Guidelines

These guidelines are designed to help faculty and students use materials legally without having to understand a lot of legalese

Copyright is Automatic - Registration is Not Required

Works are copyrighted upon creation in a fixed, tangible form. Registration has some advantages but is not required. If a work is published by a mainline book publisher or a journal, the publisher may take care of registration for the author.

Why Register a Copyright?

Procedures to Registering Your Copyright Online

What to do before you begin the registration process

  • 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
  • Make sure you have your files in an acceptable file format if you want to electronically upload your files - check acceptable file formats

Fill out the registration form

  • Go to
  • Click on Register a Copyright
    • Note that this page has links to many pages with useful information including tutorials for using the registration system
  • Log into the eCO (electronic Copyright Office) system
    • If you don't have an account, click on the login then click on the link "If you are a new user, click here to register" at the bottom of the login box
  • Follow the instructions

Note that the average processing time for copyright registrations filed electronically is 9 months.

Pay the registration fee using

Deposit an electronic or paper copy of your work

  • If you want to ship a hard copy, click on "Create Shipping Slip"
    • Click on the blue "Shipping Slip" link to view and print out a shipping slip
  • If you want to upload a copy of your work, click on "Select files to upload" button
    • Browse to find the file(s) you want to upload then click the "Start Upload" button

Procedures to Registering Your Copyright in Paper

You must file in paper for the following formats:

  • Vessel hull designs
  • Mask works
  • Correcting errors or amplifying information in a previous registration
  • Works restoring copyright under the 1994 Uruguay Round Agreements Act
  • Renewal of copyright claims
  • Groups of items

Get the appropriate form

Mail the form, the fee, and the deposit copies to:

  Library of Congress
  U.S. Copyright Office
  101 Independence Avenue SE

  Washington, DC 20559

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