What is preregistration?
In 2005, the Copyright Office announced a new program of preregistration. This does not afford many substantive rights, as a full copyright registration does. However, if you are working on a still unpublished work and are worried that someone may try to infringe your rights before you release the work, or if you’re just not done yet and therefore can’t release it and obtain a full registration, then preregistration may offer some amount of protection for you.
There are three simple requirements that must be met for a work to be entitled to preregistration. First, it must be currently unpublished. Second, you must be in the process of getting ready to commercially distribute the work. And finally, it must be a motion picture, sound recording, musical composition, literary work (that will be published in book form), computer program or advertising/marketing photographs.
If these conditions are met, you can preregister by filling out the appropriate application, available from the Copyright Office. Keep in mind that once the work is entitled to full registration, you will have to obtain that registration separately, as preregistration does not convert into a standard registration.