Some months ago (about six, to be precise), I submitted an application with the United States Copyright Office to obtain a registered copyright for my time travel-related novella Timecast. According to the Copyright Office website, it takes an average of four months to procure the copyright and receive the copyright certificate in the mail.
My certificate, which turns out to be an exact photocopy of the form I mailed to the office with an attached message from the Copyright Registerer notifying me that my copyright has been registered, arrived Saturday, Feb. 16, 2008. My application and fee for registration arrived at the Registerer’s office Friday, Aug. 10, 2007.
Now, I’m willing to forgive the delay because I am quite certain a great deal of research goes into whether a copyright applicant should, indeed, be certified by the Registerer’s office as owner of said copyright.
I also understand that this is “government work,” which is typically much slower than service performed by the private sector.
However, I do think the U.S. Copyright Office is misleading the public a bit with the four-month statement on its website. My certificate took two months longer than that to arrive in my mailbox.
In fact, I had, as of a couple of months ago, given up on obtaining my certificate, assumed that I had been rejected because I missed some minor detail in the submission guidelines for my copyright.
Still and all, I am happy to have the piece of paper stating that my creative work is officially mine.