eCO Frequently Asked Questions

For general questions about copyright, please see Circular 1: Copyright Office Basics and the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Copyright Office website.

Registering a Claim in eCO

Uploading Electronic Files in eCO

 Submitting Hard Copies of Works

 Paying Fees in eCO



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Currently eCO accepts basic registrations only, including (a) any single work or (b) a collection of unpublished works by the same author and owned by the same claimant, or (c) multiple published works contained in the same unit of publication and owned by the same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)

What are the process steps for registering a claim in eCO?
Registering a claim to copyright via eCO involves three steps in the following order:

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:

All other classes of works may be registered via eCO (application and fee payment) but require hard copies of the work(s) being registered.

Can I register a collection of works with a single application?
A collection of works may be registered with a single application if either of the following requirements is met:

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.

Do I need to configure my browser before using eCO?
Before getting started be sure to check your browser’s settings and make the following adjustments as necessary:

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

How do I upload an electronic copy of my work in eCO?
You should see a Payment Confirmation screen upon completion of payment (if not, refer to the Troubleshooting section).

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.

Network connection

Max. file size

How many files can be zipped into a single file for upload in one session?

Typical Modem (56 kbps)

11.3 MB

  • 6 high quality (low compression) JPEGs taken with a 5MP camera
  • 3 three-minute standard (128 kbps bitrate) MP3 files

Fiber Optic Cable (2 mbps)

405 MB

  • 220 high quality (low compression) JPEGs taken with a 5MP camera
  • 135 three-minute standard (128 kbps bitrate) MP3 files

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.

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:

Also please note that CDs/DVDs packaged in standard full-sized jewel boxes are more likely to survive the mail radiation process than those packaged in slim-line case.

Paying Fees in eCO

What payment options are available in eCO?
You may pay with credit/debit card or ACH transfer via or with a copyright office deposit account.

What is 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
No.  For payment via credit/debit card or ACH transfer, eCO will forward you directly to the payment screen. Once payment has been completed, will redirect you back into eCO to complete your registration. You will receive a payment confirmation email from 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.

How do I link an existing deposit account to my eCO account?
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:

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.


Browser settings

After paying in 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 into eCO correctly to complete the registration, do the following:

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.”