Great news. Like just about everything else, you can now file a copyright claim via the Internet. The not so great news is that it still takes approximately 8 months to receive your certificate, but trade-offs are a part of life.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover how easy the whole process is. But since I spent a fair amount of time actually looking for a post that easily explains the steps and was unsuccessful, I thought I should write one myself for poor unsuspecting authors who are looking for a little help.
Steps to copyrighting your book:
Before you go to the site have your ISBN number, the text file of the manuscript and your book cover handy. That will just make it easier for you.
- To to: https://eco.copyright.gov/eService_enu/
- Register an account. This is like setting up an account at most any other site, except that the Username section was a little confusing and when I clicked on the help screen it sent me to a page that was unrelated. Basically just create a user name and move on.
- Your password should contain both upper and lower case letters, numbers and one special symbol that is not an Ampersand.
- Register new claim. Once you have registered you will see a left hand sidebar, click on “register new claim”
- Verify rights. You click each box to confirm you have the right to register a copyright with the material.
- Type of work. Click on “Literary Work”
- Title of Work. Type in the name of your book and answer whether the book has been published or not.
- Publication information. Fill publication info, including your ISBN
- Author info. Fill in author information as appropriate
- Address info. Enter your address info
- Rights & Permission. Fill in the info of the person who has the right and permission to manage and/or grant permission use of your work. It can be a person you’ve appointed like an attorney or business manager or yourself.
- Correspondent. Fill in the contact info of person who the Copyright office should contact if they have questions about the application. It can be you or someone you’ve appointed.
- Mail certificate. Contact info for the person to whom the copyright certificate should be mailed.
- Special handling (optional). If you need special handling on the claim there is a considerable fee and strict parameters. Read instructions, if they don’t apply go on to next screen.
- Certification. On this pay you certify that you have the rights to the material – check the box and type in your name.
- Review. You are then sent to a review screen to ensure all the information entered is correct. If you need to correct something, click on the appropriate screen in the left hand column to return to that screen.
- Once you’re sure it’s all good to go, click on ADD to CART.
- Then click on CHECKOUT
- Verify. Again verify the info is correct and that payment is $35. After this you will be redirected to the government payment site.
- Select payment method (electronic check or credit/debit card payment), fill in your financial info, then click on CONTINUE
- Next screen will ask for email so confirmation can be sent, fill in email address and click on box authorizing payment
- SUBMIT PAYMENT. Once payment has been made you will go back to fill in the info on the material and upload files. Click on CONTINUE
- Instructions are easy, just follow them. You can select multiple files at the same time (such as manuscript and book cover) and click upload. Usually takes about 1-3 minutes.
- Once files are uploaded, click on green button to the right to COMPLETE SUBMISSION.
And that’s it. You will receive confirmation emails on payment and your submission and then you wait until the cert comes in the mail. Note: on most screens you will have to click on the CONTINUE BUTTON in the upper righthand screen – though not always. It’s best to just take your time and ensure you’ve filled out the current screen completely before you move on. All in all though, it is a very short and pretty convenient process.
Now, go get that copyright baby!