From time to time I receive queries from writers who list a copyright number for the book they want me to represent. I don't pay much attention other than to note that author doesn't know much about how publishing works.
[To complete a copyright registration, you need the name of the publisher, the year of publication, and two copies of the book to lodge with the Library of Congress. At the query stage, you don't have any of that.]
Some writers think they should copyright their work to prevent plagiarism or theft, but copyright doesn't prevent that at all. Registering a copyright only means you can collect damages if someone does plagiarize your work. I am in the business of selling, not stealing, and prefer to work with people who do NOT assume I think plagiarism is just another wealth accumulation strategy. Thus, copyright registration numbers on a query are a bit of a red flag if I notice at all.
And today, someone sent a query with a copyright number that isn't a copyright number. I knew this instantly cause I've just finished registering copyright on five client books when the publisher didn't do it promptly.
I didn't respond to the query writer cause I've learned the hard way not to interact with writers other than through the Chum Bucket experiment, but I'm wondering is someone out there is scamming writers by saying they need to register copyright at the query stage, and offering "to help" a writer do it.
Registering copyright is $35 and about 20 minutes at the copyright office website (believe me, I know!) Anyone charging you money to save you time has an agenda going.
Let me know if you've seen anything like that out there, ok?