U.S. Copyright Office
Library of Congress

Preregister Your Work

Preregistration is a service intended for works that have had a history of prerelease infringement. It focuses on the infringement of movies, recorded music, and other copyrighted materials before copyright owners have had the opportunity to market fully their products.

IMPORTANT: Preregistration is not registration. Before you submit an application for preregistration, make sure you want to preregister your work rather than register it.

  • For the vast majority of works, preregistration is not useful.
  • Preregistration is not a substitute for registration. If you do preregister your work, you are required to register it when it is published.
  • You may register an unpublished work for $45, without preregistering it. The nonrefundable filing fee for preregistration is $100.

You may benefit by preregistering your work if:

  • you think it’s likely someone may infringe your work before it is released; and
  • you have started your work but have not finished it.

Read more detailed information below to decide if preregistration is right for you.

You may also search Preregistration Records approved by the Copyright Office from October 2005 to date.


Pursuant to the provisions of the Artists' Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005, the Copyright Office is accepting preregistration of unpublished works that are being prepared for commercial distribution for types of works that the Register of Copyrights determined have had a history of pre-release infringement. The Office conducted a rulemaking and has issued an interim regulation on preregistration of unpublished works (read more on rulemaking).

Preregistration is not a substitute for registration. Its purpose is to allow an infringement action to be brought before the authorized commercial distribution of a work and full registration thereof, and to make it possible, upon full registration, for the copyright owner to receive statutory damages and attorneys' fees in an infringement action.

A person who has preregistered a work is required, in order to preserve the legal benefits of preregistration, to register such work within one month after the copyright owner becomes aware of infringement and no later than three months after first publication. If full registration is not made within the prescribed time period, a court must dismiss an action for copyright infringement that occurred before or within the first two months after first publication.

You may submit a work for preregistration only if it meets these three conditions:

  1. the work must be unpublished;

  2. the work must be in the process of being prepared for commercial distribution in either physical or digital format, e.g., film copies, CDs, or computer programs to be sold online; and

  3. the work must be one of the following types:

To preregister a work, you will be required to submit

  1. an online application, which includes a certification of a reasonable expectation that the work will be commercially distributed and that the information given in the application is correct, and
  2. a nonrefundable $100 filing fee.   
    NOTE:  The filing fee will not be refunded whether or not the preregistration is ultimately made.

Read Preregistration Information for more details.

If you encounter technical difficulties with the Preregistration System, please contact us.