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Benefits of the Copyright Office’s New Online Recordation System

A laptop is open to the Copyright Office's Recordation System, and a set of hands is typing on the keyboard to input informationEarlier this year, the U.S. Copyright Office and the Library of Congress successfully launched the Copyright Office’s new online Recordation System, an important piece of the Office’s Enterprise Copyright System (ECS) modernization effort. Its launch marks the first part of the ECS that is now widely available to the public and the first time in the Office’s history that users are able to electronically record documents about transfers of copyright ownership, among other types of documents discussed below.

The launch is also a significant milestone for the Office’s strategic goals of continuous development and copyright for all. Continuous development refers to our commitment to continuously improve and update our services, utilizing state-of-the-art technology and flexible services. Copyright for all refers to our commitment to make the copyright system as understandable and accessible to as many members of the public as possible. The new Recordation System makes the process of recording documents with the Office more accessible and more efficient for all.

What is recordation at the Copyright Office?

Recordation is when the Office records and makes public certain kinds of documents for indexing into our public records. Examples of these documents include transfers of copyright ownership, other documents pertaining to a copyright, and notices of termination. Recordation allows owners of copyrights to submit documents about changes in ownership to the Office, and it helps interested parties find out who has rights in a particular work. The Office has a short video about recordation on YouTube.

Recordation is a process typically used by law firms, organizations, commercial entities, and associations, though individual users and creators can use it as well.

Additional information about the different types of documents accepted, the recordation process, and more is on our website at copyright.gov/recordation.

What are the benefits of the online Recordation System?

There are significant benefits to using the online Recordation System:

  • The Recordation System is a completely online system that allows users to file documents for recordation with the Office electronically for the first time. This will eventually become the primary recordation process, so it is a great idea to get started using the system today.
  • The Recordation System offers much faster service and improves average processing times for electronically submitted documents. What used to take months now only takes weeks! Currently, a majority of users are saving at least ninety days in processing times.
  • Finally, the Recordation System provides online status tracking, centralized messaging for correspondence with the Office, notifications and alerts for key events, and a bulk upload option.

Many users are already filing their documents using the Recordation System. In the first three months available to the general public, over 800 organizations recorded 2,029 documents containing 98,139 works in the Public Catalog.

What is not available in the online Recordation System?

While the online Recordation System offers significant benefits, it is important to note that, at this time, the online Recordation System is only accepting submissions for transfers, other documents related to transfers of copyright ownership, and other documents pertaining to copyright. This means that recording notices of termination, for example, is not yet available in the Recordation System. A full list of what a user can and cannot submit is located on the Recordation System portal page. There, you can also find rules for using the system, frequently asked questions, and tutorials.

A woman sits at a computer screen using the new Recordation System

Copyright Office staff member checks out the new Recordation System

Recordation is a different and separate process from copyright registration, and it is important to know that the Recordation System cannot accept copyright registration applications. Eventually, ECS will integrate the Office’s registration, recordation, public record, and licensing IT applications, among other functions. The ECS’s registration module is currently under development but is not yet ready to accept copyright claims. For now, to apply to register a copyright, please use the Electronic Copyright Office registration portal (eCO). Learn more about copyright basics and the benefits of copyright registration through our circulars.

Check out the new Recordation System today!

The Office worked closely with stakeholders while developing the new Recordation System, listening to their important feedback. We worked hard to make sure it reflects the needs and contributions of its users. We hope you will check it out and start electronically recording your documents today!