You do NOT need to register with the US Copyright Office to receive copyright on your work. Copyright is automatically yours the moment you create your thesis.
When you've finally finished your thesis or dissertation, of course you want to make sure it is shared as widely as possible. How does that happen?
Part of the thesis submission process is to grant a non-exclusive license to Georgia to archive your thesis online, after all relevant embargo periods have passed. With SMARTech, Georgia Tech's institutional repository, your thesis is available for anyone with an internet connection to read, study, and cite. You still retain all copyrights to your work. unless or until you give that copyright to another entity.
And because you retain that copyright, your options for making your work available are nearly limitless. Here are some further ways you can disseminate your thesis. Here are a few examples:
Reminder, as with anything you decide to post online: *Always be sure to read the terms of service so that you know what you are agreeing to!*
The examples above are just a small sample. As long as you don't sign away your copyright, you can disseminate your work in any way you see fit. Do you have a website or a blog? Go ahead and post it there. Want to post it on a social network site you've joined? You can! You are not restricted to the "official" copy that is archived in SMARTech. When you have the copyright over your work, you can make your work available in a a wide variety of ways.