United States Copyright Office home page [online resource]. Available at: http://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright/
Reference type: Internet Resource
Authority: This is the official page maintained by the United States Government and should be considered the final word on copyright issues.
Audience Relation: All writers are eventually in need of copyright information. Science fiction writers are no different. This page is a one-stop shopping place for copyright issues.
Scope: This site contains the entire copyright law as it is written in the U.S. code. It also contains documents explaining pieces of the law, coverage of recent copyright issues, and online forms. The site addresses additional concerns such as international copyright law and how to contact various copyright offices.
Content Evaluation: This site is very complete and very useful. The front page is very nicely laid out with the links in neat, discrete categories and not a lot of graphics to clutter the page or impair download time. Also, the front page is not very large, which helps first time users who might be confused by too many choices.
The information itself is very comprehensive. The only potential obstacle for some users is the fact that it is written in U.S. Code which can be difficult to understand at times. However, there are some explanatory documents available at the site which help with some interpretation. Additionally, there are online registration forms for most copyright law procedures. These forms are available as downloads to be printed, filled out, and mailed in. So far, there are not online submissions available.
This web site is updated quite frequently and can be relied upon to contain the most recent and accurate information regarding copyright law. For parts of the law that may change over time, such as registration fees and schedules, the site includes prominent expiration information. Additionally, the site encourages people to contact the offices if they have any questions. The contact information for the offices is very complete and prominently displayed.
Most all of the information on this site is in PDF format. Since Acrobat Reader is a free and easy to install program (that actually comes with most browsers these days) this is not a hindrance to accessing the information. PDF documents are especially helpful for browsers because they print to paper cleanly and exactly as they appear on the screen.
Overall, this is the most useful site on the Internet regarding copyright law. For authors working without an agent, this will answer many of their questions about procedures, protection, and cost for copyright registration.