The U.S. Copyright Office raised its fees on May 1, 2014. Now, if you write 2 poems of 10 lines each, that is called a "compilation". The cost of "one work" is $35, the cost of registering a compilation is $55.
Long processing time: The processing time for internet e-Filing of a U.S. copyright registration is 6 to 10 months. The processing time for paper forms is up to 10 to 15 months. See underneath the photographs on the Registration Portal web page.
There are often error messages. I got this one a few minutes ago; I was not logged in:
"Your session timed out because you were idle for too long. Please log in again to resume. If you had a Siebel attachment open, your changes may have been lost. Please save the file locally, close it, and reattach it to the appropriate record."
Apparently the U.S. Copyright Office uses Oracle software. That's all I know about Siebel attachments.
I have gotten another Oracle error message:
"We detected an Error which may have occurred for one or more of the following reasons: The selected record has been modified by another user since it was retrieved. Please continue.(SBL-DAT-00523)"
It was not obvious what caused the message. I didn't "select a record".
It's complicated. The U.S. Copyright Office Compendium of Practices PDF file is 1,288 pages long, and includes links to other PDF files. Each chapter has page numbers, but there are no overall page numbers.
Payment is made BEFORE uploading the file to be copyrighted. If there is an error, the Copyright office keeps the money.
Many readers of everything registered? Presumably the many U.S. government secret agencies and their contractors have access to every submission to the U.S. Copyright office. Presumably it would be easy for someone to steal.
Other methods? Encrypt and send an email? If you want to prove that you are the author of a document, can you encrypt it and send it by email using a large system that stores emails indefinitely? Would a court accept that an author could not possibly have control over the date shown on a Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo email, for example?
Could you send an encrypted file to friends who would record the date they received it? Also, all ISPs and services like Dropbox record the date a file is received.