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Special Handling of Registration

Special handling is the expedited processing of an application for registration of a claim to copyright or for the recordation of a document pertaining to copyright. It is granted by the U.S. Copyright Office in a limited number of cases to those who have compelling reasons for this service.

Instances for Which Special Handling is Granted

Special handling is granted only in special circumstances. These are:

  • pending or prospective litigation
  • customs matters, or
  • contract or publishing deadlines that necessitate the expedited issuance of a certificate

Processing Time for Special Handling Cases

Once a request for special handling is approved, every attempt is made to process the claim or recordation within 5 working days. However, no guarantee is made that the work can be processed within this time. If correspondence is required, the Office makes every effort to process the claim expeditiously after the reply is received. Once a claim is processed, the Office either issues the certificate of registration or notifies the applicant of any defect in the claim. In the case of a document, the document is returned with a certificate of recordation.

Special Handling Fee

The fee for a special handling request is $580, plus a $30 registration filing fee ($60 for renewal) or, if the request is for recording a document, $330 plus the applicable recordation fee ($80for a document listing no more than 1 title, plus $20 for each group of 10 or fewer additional titles). The fee may be charged to a Deposit Account established in the Copyright Office or may be paid by check or money order. The fee may also be charged or paid in cash, if it is paid in person at the Copyright Office. Once a request for special handling is granted, the fee is not refundable. If a check is returned for insufficient funds, the registration or recordation will be cancelled.

How to Request Special Handling

Special handling may be requested in person or by mail (see "Circular 10: Special Handling" for more details). The Copyright Office has a form that applicants who come in to the Office are asked to fill out indicating the need for special handling. Applicants by mail must provide a letter that answers the question, "Why is there an urgent need for special handling?" The urgent need must fall within one of the three previously mentioned categories. The request must also include a signed statement certifying that the information contained in the request is correct to the best of the requestor's knowledge.

The request form must also be accompanied by:

  • the appropriate application form for registration or the document that is to be recorded;
  • a nonrefundable filing fee or recordation fee;
  • the required deposit copies, phonorecords, or identifying material; and
  • the $580 (or $330 fee for a document) special handling fee.
Next Steps
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