How to Register Copyright in a Software Application: Part 3

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Registering Copyright Using Form CO: Part 3

This is the final installment of a three-part article on registering copyright on software programs.  Here are links to Part 1 and Part 2:

How to Register a Software Application Using Form CO Part 1: Completing Section 1.

How to Register a Software Application Using Form CO Part 2: Completing Sections 2 through 4 of Form CO.

Okay, we’re returning to Form CO, Section 5.

Section 5 - Rights and Permissions

Form CO asks for a listing of the person to contact for permission to use the material. If this is the same as the copyright claimant, you can simply check the box and the information will be generated to complete this section. Again, all the information given in this section, including name, postal address, email address, and phone number, will be made part of the online records produced by the Copyright Office and cannot be removed later from those public records.

Section 6 - Correspondence Contact

This is the person in your band that the Copyright Office should contact with any questions about this application. If this is the same as the first copyright claimant or the rights and permissions contact, simply check the appropriate box. (Information given only in this space will not appear in the online public record.)

Section 7 - Mail Certificate To

This is the person to whom the registration certificate should be mailed. If this is the same as the first copyright claimant, the rights and permissions contact, or the correspondence contact, simply check the appropriate box. (Information given only in this space will not appear in the online public record.)

Section 8 - Certification

8A* - Handwritten signature. After you print out the completed application, be sure to sign it.

8B* - Printed name. Enter the name of the person who will sign the form.

8C*- Date signed. Choose “today’s date” or “write date by hand.” In the latter case, be sure to date the application by hand when you sign it. If your application gives a date of publication, do not certify using a date prior to the publication date.

8D - Deposit account. Leave this line blank unless you have a Copyright Office deposit account and are charging the filing fee to that account.

8E - Applicant's internal tracking number. If you have an internal tracking number, enter it here.

Learn more about employer-ownership of software programs.


Once you complete the form, you must mail the completed application, your $50 fee (payable to the Register of Copyrights), and your deposit materials (see below) Send all three elements of your software application copyright application in the same envelope or package to:

Library of Congress

Copyright Office

101 Independence Avenue, SE

Washington, DC 20559-6233

Deposit Materials for Software applications

Here’s where things can get a little murky. If you’re willing to file a copy of the source code with your application, then your copyright will extend to all manifestations of that source code—that is if the source identifies (or shows) your screen shots, then the screen shots will be included in the copyright. Some developers are not comfortable with furnishing all of the source code and prefer to file portions of the object code – that is the binary file (or in Java, the byte code). If that’s the case, we recommend reading Copyright Circular 61: Copyright Registration for Computer Programs ( as that document explains your choices.

Need help? The Copyright Office ( has done a nice job of explaining the process and making it user-friendly with a tutorial and FAQs. The eCO process is peppered with helpful drop down menus, as well as hypertext links that provide pop-up explanations for each aspect of the application process. The explanations for paper forms provided earlier in this section should aid you answering the online interview—for example, how to respond to questions regarding the nature of work, title, date of publication, etc.

You can expedite your filing. For an expedited handling fee of $805 ($760 plus the $50 filing fee – check current fees), the Copyright Office will process an application within five working days. You cannot choose this service for mere reasons of convenience; it is only allowed in urgent cases. Examples of an urgent need include: upcoming litigation, a pending customs matter, a looming contractual or a publishing deadline. You can request it using the form “Request for Special Handling,” included in Copyright Circular 10. As an alternative to using this form, you can prepare a cover letter answering the following questions:

Why Should You Register Your Software?