I have previously explained the process for filing a copyright registration application. This blog post emphasizes the importance of checking the status of your application if you have not received any communications from the Copyright Office within the expected processing time.
The Copyright Office’s website provides estimates of current copyright registration processing times. At the time of this writing, processing for registration is running 3 to 4 1/2 months for applications filed electronically and 5 to 8 months fro applications filed on paper.
But occasionally an application “falls between the cracks” and that’s why you need to check. Here is an example of such a situation I’ve experienced in my law firm practice:
A client filed on its own a paper application in November 2010. In March 2012, the client engaged me to determine the status of the application. Upon contacting the Copyright Office, I learned that the Copyright Office had entered receipt of the application into its system in January 2011. However, it took no further action on the application because the deposit copy was damaged in the screening process. Damage and/or loss to mandatory deposits is not uncommon due to the Copyright Office’s extensive off-site bio-contaminant screening process. In my client’s situation, the Copyright Office explained that a request letter for a replacement copy should have been sent out to my client, but for some reason, this never happened. To resume the processing, the Copyright Office needed a replacement copy of the material being registered. Once we submitted the replacement copy, the registration was completed within a few weeks. Happy Ending!
For Additional Information on Copyright Registration
My book, The Cyber Citizen’s Guide Through the Legal Jungle: Internet Law for Your Professional Online Presence, includes an in-depth discussion of copyright registration. Its appendix includes fully annotated examples of completed copyright registration applications for a blog, website, podcast, and online newsletter.