eCO Frequently Asked Questions
Registering a Claim in eCO
- Who can use eCO to register claims?
- Do I need an email address to file electronically throught eCO?
- What kinds of claims can be registered in eCO?
- What are the process steps for registering a claim in eCO?
- What works may be registered with electronic deposits?
- Can I register a collection of works with a single application?
- Which browsers does eCO support?
- Do I need to configure my browser before using eCO?
- Can I check the status of a claim registered via eCO?
Uploading Electronic Files in eCO
- How do I upload an electronic copy of my work in eCO?
- What file types are acceptable?
- Is there a maximum file size that can be uploaded in one session?
- How do I upload multiple files?
- My upload status is “Pending”. What’s going on?
Submitting Hard Copies of Works
- I register works that require hard copy deposits to satisfy Library of Congress deposit regulations.
- How do I do that in eCO?
- What does “best edition” mean?
- Are there special instructions for packaging copies of my work(s) for mail/courier delivery?
Paying Fees in eCO
- What payment options are available in eCO?
- What is Pay.gov?
- Do I have to create a user account with Pay.gov?
- What is a deposit account?
- How do I link an existing deposit account to my eCO account?
- Can I see my copyright registration records?
- Will my registration records help provide contact information for someone interested in using my work?
- Can I remove information that I don't want publicized?
- How can I prevent personal information from being placed on the Copyright Office's website?
- Why is my copyright registration information now appearing on search engines such as Google?
Registering a Claim in eCO
Who can use eCO to register claims?
Anyone can use eCO to register basic claims to copyright, even those who intend to submit a hard copy(ies) of the work(s) being registered. Basic claims include literary works, visual arts works, performing arts works, sound recordings, motion pictures, and single serial issues. At this time, the following types of registration are not available in eCO: renewals, corrections, mask works, vessel hulls, groups of serial issues, groups of newspaper/newsletter issues, groups of database updates, and groups of contributions to periodicals. For information about registering these types, see the Copyright Office website.
Do I need an email address to file electronically throught eCO?
Yes. One of the requirements for establishing an eCO account is to provide an email address. That email address is not available on the public record.
What kinds of claims can be registered in eCO?
Currently eCO accepts basic registrations only, including (a) any single work or (b) a collection of unpublished works by the same author and owned by the same claimant, or (c) multiple published works contained in the same unit of publication and owned by the same claimant. (Examples. A compact disk containing 10 songs; a book of poems)
- Complete an application
- Pay the associated fee (Pay online with credit/debit card or ACH transfer via Pay.gov, or with a deposit account)
- Submit your work
Keep in mind that payment is required before the system will prompt you to upload copies of your work(s) as an electronic file or print out a shipping slip if you intend to submit a hard copy of your work.
What works may be registered with electronic deposits?
The following classes of works may be registered in eCO with electronic deposit copies:
- Unpublished works;
- Works published only electronically;
- Published works for which the deposit requirement is ID material (see the Special Deposit Requirements section of Circular 1 for more on ID material);
- Published works for which there are special agreements requiring the hard copy deposits to be sent separately to the Library of Congress.
All other classes of works may be registered via eCO (application and fee payment) but require hard copies of the work(s) being registered.
- The collection is made up of unpublished works by the same author and owned by the same claimant; or
- The collection is made up of multiple published works contained in the same unit of publication and owned by the same claimant.
Which browsers does eCO support?
The eCO system is designed to work with Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 and Netscape Navigator 7.02. Firefox 2.0 users must adjust the Tabs setting to “New pages should be opened in: a new window.” The Tabs setting is under Tools/Options for Firefox for PCs and under Preferences for Firefox for Macs. The Safari browser IS NOT currently certified for use with the eCO system. Other browsers such as Opera and Konqueror may work with the eCO system.
- 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.
Can I check the status of a claim registered via eCO?
Login to eCO and click on the blue case number associated with your claim in the Open Cases table at the bottom of the Welcome screen to view the Case Summary associated with the claim.
Uploading Electronic Files in eCO
- Click the “Submit your work” button toward the top of the screen.
- Click the Upload Deposit link in the Deposit Submission table. A window will appear that allows you to browse and select the file(s) you wish to upload and submit.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The “browse and select” window will not appear if your pop up blocker is enabled.
What file types are acceptable?
Click here for the current list of acceptable file types.
Is there a maximum file size that can be uploaded in one session?
The eCO system has a 30-minute upload time out that, depending on your connection speed, limits the size of files that can be uploaded in one session. If you have a very large file, we recommend that you break it up into two or more smaller files for uploading. See the table below for guidance.
Max. file size
How many files can be zipped into a single file for upload in one session?
Typical Modem (56 kbps)
Fiber Optic Cable (2 mbps)
How do I upload multiple files?
The “browse and select” window in eCO enables you to upload files individually. If you have a large number of files to upload, we recommend that you create one or more ZIP files for uploading. However, please see the guidance on the maximum file size that can be uploaded in eCO in one session.
My upload status is “Pending”. What’s going on?
Uploaded files are first captured in a server that resides outside the eCO system's network firewall, where they are scanned and “scrubbed” of malicious code before being released. The status of uploaded files remains “Pending” until they are received by the system inside the firewall. Once inside the firewall, the status of an uploaded file changes to “Received.”
Submitting Hard Copies of Works
I register works that require hard copy deposits to satisfy Library of Congress deposit regulations. How do I do that in eCO?
You may submit an application and payment in eCO and then create and print a shipping slip to be attached to the hard copy(ies) of your work for delivery to the Copyright Office via mail/courier.
- You should see a Payment Confirmation screen upon completion of payment (if not, refer to the Troubleshooting section). Click the “Submit your work” button toward the top of the page.
- Click the Send by Mail link in the Deposit Submission table.
- Click the Shipping Slip link that appears in the Attachments table to generate a shipping slip to be attached to your work(s).
The shipping slip includes the correct mailing address and zip code for the class of work(s) being registered. To avoid misrouting, please be sure to attach a shipping slip directly to each work or set of works that you submit.
What does “best edition” mean?
The copyright law (title 17, United States Code) requires that copies or phonorecords deposited in the Copyright Office be of the “best edition” of the work. For more on “best edition,” see Circular 7B: ‘Best Edition’ of Published Copyrighted Works for the Collections of the Library of Congress.
Are there special instructions for packaging copies of my work(s) for mail/courier delivery?
To avoid damage to your deposit due to Capitol Hill security measures, please package the following items in boxes rather than envelopes for mailing to the Copyright Office:
- Electronic media such as audiocassettes, videocassettes, CDs, and DVDs
- Slick advertisements, color photocopies, and other print items that are rubber- and vegetable-based
Paying Fees in eCO
What is Pay.gov?
Pay.gov is a secure, web based application operated by the U.S. Treasury Department that allows users to make online payments to government agencies by credit card or by debit from a checking or savings account.
Do I have to create a user account with Pay.gov?
No. For payment via credit/debit card or ACH transfer, eCO will forward you directly to the Pay.gov payment screen. Once payment has been completed, Pay.gov will redirect you back into eCO to complete your registration. You will receive a payment confirmation email from Pay.gov after a successful transaction.
What is a deposit account?
The Copyright Office maintains a system of deposit accounts for those who frequently use its services. An individual or firm may establish a deposit account, make advance deposits into that account, and charge copyright fees against the balance in their account via eCO. Click here for more on deposit accounts.
You may link an existing deposit account to an Organization account in eCO and then charge fees against the balance of the deposit account any time you use eCO to register claims. To create an Organization account in eCO, click the Organization/DA link in the menu bar on the right side of the Welcome screen.
Can I see my copyright registration records?
Yes, the Copyright Office is required by law to maintain a public record of copyright registrations and make these records available to the public for inspection. Once registration is completed and the claim has been cataloged, it becomes part of the public record. Individuals have always been able to come to the Copyright Office to inspect these public records. Since 1978, the Copyright Office has made new registration records available through the Copyright Office website at: http://www.copyright.gov/records/
Will my registration records help provide contact information for someone interested in using my work?
Copyright registration records and documents recorded related to these registrations may be used by the public to identify the author and copyright owner(s) of a work. The public record may also provide information about an agent of the owner who may be contacted for permissions and licensing of the registered work.
Can I remove information that I don't want publicized?
No. Please be aware that when you register your claim to a copyright in a work with the U.S. Copyright Office, you are creating a public record of your claim of copyright, and this record cannot be removed from the public record once it has been created. All of the information you provide on your copyright registration is available to the public and much of that information will now be available on the Internet. You may wish to consider whether or not you want to include birth dates, nicknames, aliases, or any other information that you consider to be sensitive, on the application which will be made part of the public record.
How can I prevent personal information from being placed on the Copyright Office's website?
You should be aware that the year of birth is not required and should not be provided if you do not want it to be made part of the public record. It is also permissible to register a claim in a work either anonymously or pseudonymously. Registering a claim anonymously or pseudonymously affects the durational term of a copyright. An anonymous or pseudonymous work endures for 95 years from the year of its first publication, or a term of 120 years from the year of creation, whichever expires first.
Why is my copyright registration information now appearing on search engines such as Google?
As public records, others may use this information and may create alternative means to make this information available. The Copyright Office does not make records available outside of its database accessible through its web site. Other parties have disseminated the records more broadly.
- Firefox 2.0 users must adjust the Tabs setting to “New pages should be opened in: a new window.” The Tabs setting is under Tools/Options for Firefox for PCs and under Preferences for Firefox for Macs.
- Internet Explorer users: Click on Tools, Internet Options, Advance Tab. In the Browsing Section, uncheck “Reuse window for launching shortcuts”
- Turn off popup blockers for the eCO website.
- Disable any 3rd party Toolbars (Google or Yahoo Toolbar).
- Check your security and privacy setting and make sure they are set to MEDIUM.
- Create an eCO Shortcut on your desktop (Right mouse click anywhere in an open area on your desktop; choose New from the drop down menu and then select Shortcut; type or copy and paste the following URL: https://eco.copyright.gov/eService_enu; click on Next and type in a name for the shortcut (for example: “Electronic Copyright Office”); click Finish.)
- If you bookmarked or saved the eCO home page in your favorites, change the address path (Go to favorites; right mouse click on the link; go to Properties and shorten the address to https://eco.copyright.gov/eService_enu)
After paying in pay.gov all I received was a blank page, what do I do?
If you completed an application and paid the registration fee but were not re-directed from Pay.gov into eCO correctly to complete the registration, do the following:
- You MUST disable your browser's pop-up blocker (if it is enabled).
- Revisit the eCO login page and log into the system.
- In the Open Cases table at the bottom of the welcome screen, click the blue case number associated with your claim.
- On the Case Summary page, click the “Upload Deposit” button at the top of the page. A window with fields for browsing and selecting files to be uploaded should appear. POP-UP BLOCKER ALERT: If your browser’s pop-up blocker is enabled the browse and select window will not appear.
If you are a Firefox user, you likely have this problem because you did not adjust the tab setting. To remedy, Click on Tools | Options and deselect the option “a new tab” under the heading “New pages should be opened in.”