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Screenshot of single application
The new way!

Single Application Updated

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The following is a guest post by Whitney Levandusky, attorney-adviser, Office of Public Information and Education.

Greetings, copyright applicants! When you visit the U.S. Copyright Office’s online registration on December 18, you may notice a few differences.  We’re updating our software!

I’m here to talk about the Single Application.  It’s a simplified registration method that allows an individual author to register a claim in one work still owned by the author. Under our old system, you accessed the Single Application by answering three questions before you began the registration process. If you answered “Yes” to all three questions, you gained access to the Single Application.

On December 18, if you want to use the Single Application, you can find it to the left hand of your “Home Page.” Click “Register One Work by One Author” and you’re on your way.

Screenshot of single application
The new way!

Now, to be clear: a Single Application is not the best option for most people registering their claims to copyright. A Single Application is the way to go only if:

  • You are registering one work (no multi-part works or collections of works).
  • You are submitting the application because you are the author and claimant or an authorized third party and you identify yourself as the correspondent.
  • The work was created by one author (no group efforts, works made for hire, or works derived from other works).
  • All the material contained in the work and the deposit is by the same individual.
  • The author is the claimant – or owner – of copyright.

Meeting these eligibility criteria is very important. If you don’t, the Office will refuse your registration and you’ll have to start all over again (In the past, you may have gotten an e-mail from us asking for $20 and to resubmit your application. That’s no longer the practice).

If you’ve submitted a Single Application before, you’ll notice some changes. They are:

  • “Author/Claimant” Screen: The author and claimant area of the application has been condensed to one screen, rather than the old separate screens.
  • “Author Created” List: Instead of clicking the button describing the authorship within the work (“text,” “music”), you’ll select the entry from the dropdown list that best describes the work as a whole.
  • “Limitation of Claim” Screen: If the work you are registering contains material you have previously published or registered with the Office, provide a brief description of the material. No need to describe the material included.
  • “Anonymous” Box: If you check the “Anonymous” box, the word “Anonymous” will automatically appear as the author/claimant’s name.
  • “Upload” Screen: If you try to upload a copy of your work using a file the Office doesn’t accept, you’ll get a notice. Check out our acceptable file type list to make sure you can provide us a copy of your work.

Not sure if you can use the Single Application? We have a brand new circular available for more information, and you can always call our Public Information Office at (202) 707-3000 or drop us a line.


  1. If your process is so simple why cant a work be found that is registered, In progress, or has been canceled ,especially when the applicant has paid money by the applicant or claimants name email address? It seems like it would be a simple process since no one shares the same email and most people don’t have the exact same name and birthday. Are you guys just trying to get money off of researching for applicants and cause distress by making them have to wait for your workers reply?

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