->''"Here's a girl in Illinois who [[{{Intangibility}} can walk through walls]]. Now, what's to stop her from walking into a bank vault? Or the White House? Or ''into their houses?'' And there are even rumors, Miss Grey, of mutants so powerful that they can enter our minds and control our thoughts, taking away our God-given free will. Now I think the American people deserve the right to decide if they want their children to be in school with mutants. To be taught by mutants! Ladies and gentlemen, the truth is that mutants are very real, and that they are among us. We must know who they are, and above all, what they can do!"''\\
--'''Senator Kelly''', ''{{Film/X-Men}}'' (2000)

Any law that requires {{Super Hero}}es (or, really, [[DifferentlyPoweredIndividual anyone with superpowers]]) to be registered with the government in a national database (including the name and residence of each hero's SecretIdentity) or face penalties. This [[TropeCodifier was codified]] with the MarvelComics' ''ComicBook/{{X-Men}}'' in the form of the "Mutant Registration Act", where it provided a [[FantasticRacism metaphor for discussing racial and/or communist themes]]. Since then, it has been used and re-used.

While sometimes the act can take the benevolent, unobtrusive form of a government-sponsored HeroSecretService complete with HeroInsurance, in most cases the law is an antagonist in and of itself, whose only purpose is to prohibit superheroes from using their powers recklessly (if '''at all'''), or in the worst case scenario, is the first step to full-scale SuperHumanTrafficking. Of course, no super''villain'' in their right mind would bother obeying the terms of this law, however registration would allow for identification of Supers that later become villainous or the prosecution of Supers that attempt to conceal their powers with the assumption that such an act would be later used for criminal or nefarious purposes.

A registration act often allows the "outlaws" to know in advance which potential victims possess or do not possess super powers or limit a Supers' ability to defend themselves. When this trope is invoked enforcement of the act often permits the supervillains to do even more damage than usual as potential heroes are inhibited from acting freely. The situation is often resolved when the 'real' heroes defy the act by stopping the BigBad the registered crimefighters missed, prompting a ResetButton hit on the whole thing.

Even though the law is meant to approximate just how TheGovernment would react to superpowered vigilantes showing up in RealLife, it's not often that the law comes about purely as a result of normal civil processes, intelligent debate, or genuine public outrage. This is because comic books, like most serial works, operate on RuleOfFun, being escapist fiction where the stakes depend on one lone individual or a small group, which is hampered when your favorite character punches a clock and answers to TheMan. Exposing the act as the latest plot of some supervillain makes it easier to hit the ResetButton because StatusQuoIsGod.

Is probably best addressed in universes with a system of psychic or telepathic powers where unidentified users would represent an extreme invasion of privacy risk let alone issues with business transactions or games that involve use of secret information.

Actually ''implementing'' such a system is of course a tricky proposition, given the fact your targets can do things like erase your memories or blow up tanks by pointing at them, and depends on whether you're registering [[DifferentlyPoweredIndividual super humans]] or [[SuperHero super heroes]]. In RealLife identification of a super abusing their powers could result in forfeiture of their property, termination of their employment and general suspension of their normal relationships and interactions if they are branded as a wanted felon without any need to apprehend or imprison the suspect. Of course [[RealityIsUnrealistic in fictional worlds, villains may not have a good work-life balance needed for this punishment to stick]].

Sometimes, superhero fiction writers may bring this trope up as means of creating an [[TobeLawfulOrGood ethical dilemma]] within the superhero community and thus, deconstructing WhiteAndBlackMorality and opening things up to GreyAndGrayMorality. LawfulGood superheroes will often try to work with the law to see what is best for the public and superheroes alike, although some may venture into the KnightTemplar territory at worst. NeutralGood superheroes will be the most divisive in the issue, as some superheroes will raise concern whether or not the law will allow the superhero community to continue to do what is right for everyone, or if the law will allow [[LawfulEvil lawfully inclined supervillains]] to abuse the said law. ChaoticGood superheroes who disregard all laws will obviously oppose the superhuman registration act anyways.

'''For policing super-humans:'''
* A: Create [[CapeBusters a non-superpowered combat force]] with [[BadassNormal top-of-the-line training]] and [[UtilityBelt the best equipment money can buy]]. Sometimes these agents act as a special crimes unit; other times, it's a superspy/black ops agency. This organization doesn't necessarily need superhuman support, but may begin to [[FantasticRacism dehumanize their enemies]].
* B: Recruit [[MutantDraftBoard a group of right-thinking, like-minded Supers to enforce the system]]. Probably the most common solution, but the new organization [[BewareTheSuperman may turn out to have no use for the people who create it]].

'''For policing super heroes:'''
* C: [[ToCatchHeroesHireVillains Recruit a group of evil, criminal-minded supervillains to police the heroes]]. The local TailorMadePrison filled with the heroes' RoguesGallery should provide no shortage of potential {{Boxed Crook}}s for your BadassCrew. Some of the [[AntiVillain less bloodthirsty and more sympathetic ones]] might pull a HeelFaceTurn from the allure of [[GoodFeelsGood working on the side of the angels]]; for the rest, it would be a smart idea to secure their loyalty with an ExplosiveLeash implanted in the base of their spinal columns.
* D: Create a [[SlaveToPR PR campaign]] and outreach program that emphasizes the perks of registration: HeroInsurance to repair collateral damage and protection against civil lawsuits, a possible government salary and [[SuperheroSchool training to develop your powers and people-saving skills]]. Works best to draft/enlist the top tier superheroes, so that second and third stringers that look up to them will be inspired to register. However, if any of the A-listers decide to go against it, the hero community could be embroiled in a ''ComicBook/CivilWar'' that makes both sides look bad.
* E: Don't make a big deal out of it; trying to force a large number of superhumans into doing something is a pre-emptive measure. Instead, wait until you have a suspect safely under the {{Power Nullifier}}s, then ask if he has registered his powers. It works for the cops in {{Powers}}.

----
!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime And Manga]]
* Used in the ''Manga/SoulEater'' universe, and practically the plot of its prequel, ''Manga/SoulEaterNot''. Weapons must attend the DWMA until they are deemed capable of controlling their abilities, in an effort to stem the FantasticRacism that used to run rampant. This law is the reason why Soul, who came from a wealthy family, ever joined the DWMA in the first place. Meisters, on the other hand, are not required to train there, since they're not by definition anything but regular people who learn how to use weapons. Even the weapons are not required to ''fight'' anyone as most of the cast of ''Soul Eater'' do; only the NOT class (which teaches weapons to control their own powers) is mandatory, while the ones who fight evil for [[BigGood Lord Death]] and try to become Death Scythes volunteered for and were accepted for the EAT class.
* A positive version appears in the manga and anime ''SomedaysDreamers'', where in current-day Japan, magic users are registered with the government, trained to control their abilities and use them responsibly, and licensed to offer their skills for hire.
* Used as part of the setting of the anime/manga ''ZettaiKarenChildren''. Schools regularly scan students for psychic powers and give mandatory psychic power suppressing limiters to those who have them (which marks them as espers to the general populace, who often discriminate against them). For the people too powerful to be completely limited, it is illegal for them to attend school unless they're part of a military organization that guarantees that they're under control. Presumably this extends to adult society as well, although it's never shown. Unlike the other examples, registration is portrayed as a good thing, or at least as the best compromise that can be achieved when there's both humans and espers advocating genocide.
** Espers with future predicting powers have predicted that this will directly cause the downfall of humanity, by inciting a muggle vs esper civil war (which the espers will win, by destroying everything). A major ongoing plot is whether it can be averted via positive relationships between the main characters (the 3 strongest espers and their muggle "handler")
* The SuperRegistrationAct has been implemented in the ''TigerAndBunny'' universe for at least several decades and generally works without a hitch. The Justice Bureau approves all heroes and allows them to sign up with a sponsor company and serve as private law enforcement/celebrities (technically, it's possible to be a free agent without a sponsor, but it's almost unheard of). While only NEXT have been shown to be active as heroes, presumably anyone without a criminal record has the opportunity to become one. Any hero under investigation for criminal behavior is suspended until they're cleared of all charges. Damages are handled either by the sponsor company or, if a judge rules that property damage was necessary in order for a hero to do their job properly, by the state.
** It appears more reasonable than others, but the execution is marred by [[spoiler: the very influential (the Mayor seems unwilling/unable to disagree with him) Maverick's collusion with Ouroborus to 'promote' [=NEXTs=] as superheroes, and the fact the [[HangingJudge judge]] that oversees hero-related cases is himself secretly a vigilante and [[SerialKillerKiller killer]].]]
* ''Manga/ACertainScientificRailgun'' explains that all Espers have to register their identities, abilities and levels with Academy City's databases, and undergo regular testing and evaluation, in order to enter into the Esper Development Program. It comes in handy when Judgement investigates crimes: as long as they can identify the ability, they can track potential suspects.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Back during the "Acts of Vengeance" CrisisCrossover, a SuperRegistrationAct was proposed, though it was defeated by the political power of the ComicBook/FantasticFour and ComicBook/TheAvengers; this was pointed out later as something that eventually led to...
* ''ComicBook/CivilWar'': The big 2006 CrisisCrossover from Creator/MarvelComics, centered around the Super Human Registration Act and the superhero community's reactions to it ([[LetsYouAndHimFight an all-out slugfest]]). The X-Men stayed out of the whole conflict, perhaps so that attention wouldn't be drawn to the trope's overusedness. What's especially problematic here is that the meaning of the SHRA seems to [[DependingOnTheWriter change from comic to comic]] -- sometimes, it's just a matter of heroes registering their identities and powers with the government, but other books treat it as a sort of superhuman draft. This inconsistency and the political climate at the time (the whole thing had parallels to the freedom/security debate surrounding the Patriot Act) make the event's slogan, [[ConceptsAreCheap "Which Side Are You On?"]], much more difficult to answer. Ultimately, the pro-reg side won out but [[PyrrhicVictory at the cost of the respect of the public]], leading to ''supervillains taking over SHIELD/HAMMER for a while''.
** Part of the reason for all this chaos in-story seems to be that the registration act itself is only part of the picture. At the same time, there's a general government push to co-opt the superhero community and rein in its rogue elements. So while the SHRA itself may not mean anything but "anyone with superpowers has to register with the government," you still have creepy black ops types drafting supersoldiers.
** Perhaps [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] how overblown the concept was in ''Civil War'', the spin-off series ''Omega Flight'' noted that the Franchise/MarvelUniverse's Canada had had a SuperRegistrationAct for years, but it was never a problem because it didn't involve forced outings, secret prisons, conscripting teenagers, or supervillain mercenaries.
** Another big problem with ''ComicBook/CivilWar'', that again varied between writers, was the pro-reg side being led by people who actually had means to make normal law enforcement and military agencies less than near-helpless against metahuman criminals and de-facto private armies (never mind the diverse array of alien, extradimensional and time-travelling conquerors threatening the Earth), means not requiring dangerous experiments on people or production of notoriously difficult to control robots, [[ReedRichardsIsUseless but pointedly refused to do so]].
*** The least strict interpretation was that you didn't have to register at all if you didn't plan on fighting crime or using your powers, otherwise you had to register and possibly submit to some basic safety training (like gun safety training but for superpowers), but as mentioned many other comics showed SHIELD agents bursting into people's homes at midnight and conscripting them by force.)
* In a neat bit of historical reference, The BronzeAge ''All-Star Comics'' series [[RetCon revealed]] the reason the Justice Society had broken up in the '50s: they were called before a [[CaptainErsatz thinly-disguised version]] of the House Un-American Activities Committee and asked to reveal their identities. Unwilling to do so but also unwilling to go against the law, they stopped operating for a time. (In a PostCrisis {{Retcon}}, this was changed to the actual HUAC.)
** In the PostCrisis [[TheDCU DCU's]] background (related largely in the short-lived series ''Chase''), the act passed by the HUAC actually kept any superheroes from operating openly from 1951 until at least the '80s or '90s, but by the time {{Franchise/Superman}} showed up it had been largely forgotten by the public at large and quietly abolished with no fanfare.
** In ''TheDarkKnightReturns'' continuity, however, the government prohibitions on superheroes are stronger, with Superman himself having been strong-armed into being an operative of the US government.
** In the Reboot version of the ''ComicBook/{{Legion Of Super-Heroes}}'', people from Titan, a race of natural telepaths, are forced to wear a Saturn emblem when interacting with other species.
** Pre-Crisis, several heroes were granted exemptions (due to their "special status" or "special relations with law enforcement") from Congress' demands, and allowed to continue to operate: Franchise/{{Superman}}, Franchise/{{Batman}} (and Robin), and Franchise/WonderWoman. In reality, these characters were among the few superheroes continuously published through the 1950s (while the rest of their JSA cohorts weren't), a time when superheroes weren't as popular as other genres (Westerns, horror, etc.).
* In the critically acclaimed series ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'', the rise of costumed vigilantes in the '30s resulted in Congressional legislation authorizing superhero activities - which was repealed in TheSeventies after fed-up police went on strike nationwide and mass rioting ensued. After the "Keene Act" is passed, the only superheroes permitted to ply their trade legally are those who work full-time for the government, including the world's only genuine superhuman.
** The Minutemen also faced the House Un-American Activities Committee. They came up with a compromise to the request to identify themselves to the committee: Each member was to reveal their identity to ''one'' member of the Committee. That member was to put their name into the enormous stack of names they wanted the FBI to do a background check on without any flags reading 'this person is '. Then they would speak to the committee as a whole in their costumed persona. As a result, the heroes were investigated in their true identities, while limiting the number of people who knew who they really were. The only member of the Minutemen to not accept this compromise, Hooded Justice, resigned. Unfortunately, it's implied that he was tracked down in his civilian identity and killed shortly thereafter (probably by the Comedian, due to a previous grudge between them).
* This is a central point in the comic series ''{{Powers}}''. The main characters are [[BuddyCopShow Buddy Cops]] who investigate crimes related to registered and unregistered superpowered heroes and villains. The registration is in effect from the start, and being caught unregistered has a lot of legal woes tied to it. In fact it's even illegal to own a COSTUME unless you're registered which must make fancy dress parties a nightmare in this world. [[spoiler:Things go further for awhile in some issues, when after the local version of Superman goes insane/senile and decides that he's God and tries to enforce morality on the world, the use of any powers becomes illegal]].
** It then lampshades this as of course the ONLY people who follow a law as ridiculous as that are the HEROES. The psychotic supervillains still run riot, the only difference is that now only badly unerqualified humans are left to try (and fail) to stop them. In the end the heroes return, realizing that justice is a lot more important than "The Law".
* A ''ComicBook/DarkwingDuck'' comic where several superheroes led by a [[ComicBook/FantasticFour Mr. Fantastic]] CaptainErsatz arrived in St. Canard City and tried to enforce a SuperRegistrationAct. Darkwing, of course, didn't like this. This comic [[HilariousInHindsight became much funnier]] after ''ComicBook/CivilWar'' came out.
* In ''ComicBook/AstroCity'''s "Confessions" arc, the government of the titular city starts a registration act. It does not go well. [[spoiler:It turns out the Mayor was an alien shape shifter who was trying to destroy Earth's best defenses. This was found out when The Confessor, a Catholic Superhero Vampire, shot him to death with a stake gun.]]
* This happened when reality got changed so that Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman never existed in the 2009 series ''Trinity''. The alternate [[TheFlash Flash]] delivers an epic WhatTheHellHero when he orders the solders trying to arrest him (in the middle of a battle against supervillains!) to do something useful and actually ''be'' heroes.
* The ''ComicBook/{{X-Men}}'' have brought this up as a plot every few years. The terms of the act weren't always consistent but they dealt with the broad idea of mutants being free to use their powers clashing with the need for ordinary humans to be protected from [[PersonsOfMassDestruction dangerous]] and/or [[BadPowersBadPeople evil mutants]]. The debate was almost always [[DebateAndSwitch slanted by anti-mutant bigotry/giant-mutant-hunting robots]]; as in the words of Moira [=McTaggert=]:
-->'''Moira:''' [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope Registration today, gas chambers tomorrow.]]
** The ComicBook/DaysOfFuturePast storyline featured the most extreme version of a MRA where ordinary humans with the mutant gene were barred from having kids and mutants were rounded up into concentration camps.
* The ''ComicBook/CaptainCarrotAndHisAmazingZooCrew 2007'' miniseries featured the [[UsefulNotes/TheUnitedStates United Species of America's]] government, under new President [[PunnyName Beneduck Arnold]], pass the "Collar ID" law, which was designed to neutralize the powers of the US' superhero populace, with the heroes either retiring (as the Zoo Crew did) or losing their powers. At one point, the President notes to the Crew "thanks to [the law], there are no more superheroes left on Earth!" Of course this came at Earth-C's DarkestHour---a global flooding created by Starro---and ignores the [[CreatorProvincialism US-centric]] nature of the law. Apparently the heroes moving to places like Earth-C's [[CanadaEh Cornada]] or [[BritainIsOnlyLondon Loondon]] to avoid the law weren't options, though simply moving out of the US rarely seems to be a considered option under this trope...
* In ComicBook/BazookaJules potential superheroes have seven days after their powers manifest to get registered as an official superhero. If they don't register in time they get classified as rogues, meaning they're vigilantes or villains, either one is illegal. Not only do registered superheroes get a [[ScannableMan barcode tattoo]] of their forearm but the government also takes a DNA sample from them so if a superhero goes rogue anything they do can be trace back to them.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* The film ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'' inverts the situation, with the superhero registration program existing to protect the Supers from the general public. The DVD extra materials make it clear that this program existed before the movie started, with the government providing logistical support to registered heroes and helping keep their secret identities secret. None of the supers seem to mind. Then, as shown in the movie, a series of successful lawsuits against Supers leads to a wave of anti-hero sentiment. The government passes the Superhero Relocation Act, granting amnesty to all the supers (and relocating them la the Witness Protection Program), on the condition that they retire from superheroics and lead normal lives. And when Bob Parr (aka Mr. Incredible) continues hero-ing anyway (blame ChronicHeroSyndrome), his liaison with the superhero registration agency covers for him and helps Bob relocate again (and again, and again...), rather than leaving him to be prosecuted as a vigilante.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The ''GenerationX'' made-for-TV film deals with a harsh mutant registration act. Any mutant who doesn't register before their powers first flare up is imprisoned and considered a terrorist threat. Considering that most powers in the film are [[WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway small-scale]], [[CoconutSuperpowers low-budget]] and don't cause nearly as much property damage as you see in comic book panels, the knee-jerk reaction falls partly into AdaptationExplanationExtrication.
* As expected, ''[[Film/XMen1 X-Men]]'' features a sub-plot in which a senator tries to get a mutant registration act. It fails but the threat of such an act hangs over the characters' heads for the rest of the series.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* The WildCards books had the '''S'''enate '''C'''ommittee on '''A'''ce '''RE'''esouces in the 1950s, in an alternate-history version of the anti-communist hysteria of the time. Its target was "Aces," rare people given superpowers by the Wild Card virus. In 1954, all people with super powers were required to register with the Federal government under the Exotic Powers Act, and were drafted into government service under the Special Conscription Act.
* After the emergence of the psychic Talents in AnneMcCaffrey's ''[[Literature/TowerAndTheHive Pegasus]]'' and ''[[Literature/TowerAndTheHive Tower]]'' books, the first thing the psychically gifted people do is preempt what they see as the inevitability of this by creating their own registration organization and making sure it's used only for good.
* Telepaths in KatherineKerr's ''Polar City Blues'' and other books in the same universe are marked with a "P" tattoo on their jaw. No coercion or punishment is mentioned; however no telepath can go unnoticed by another for long, especially if they haven't been trained and the only place to get the training is at the school which does the branding...
* Subverted in the two ''Literature/{{Temps}}'' shared world anthologies, in which all British "paranorms" are required to register with the Department of Paranormal Resources and, in exchange for a monthly stipend and a cheap suit, can then be called up as government operatives and penalised for vigilantism. Mostly, the paranorms view this the way most people view government interference in their lives; annoying, but not worth making a fuss over.
* Imagers (basically mages) in LEModesittJR's Imager Portfolio are required to join the Collegium. This organization is run by and filled with Imagers, and occupies a venerable but somewhat precarious place in the local power structure. It trains imagers, keeps them out of trouble, and acts as something of a special ops/intelligence/research agency for the governmental council--something like option H, but with an emphasis on avoiding publicity.
* The Ministry of Magic in the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' universe, which regulates the wizarding world in the UK, forces Animagi (wizards with the rare skill of being able to transform into a specific animal) to register with the government or face prison time. Over the course of the series, we get the impression that the law is more honored in the breach than the observance, though.
* This is one of the core elements of ''ShadowOps''. If you're a Latent (magic-using human) in the United States, you've got three basic options. the first: a fairly comfortable (or uncomfortable, if you force the military to come after you) imprisonment while having your abilities fully suppressed for the rest of your life. The second: join the military. Again, for life. Third: Bullets, lethal injection, or the electric chair, depending on area. [[DoubleStandard Unless you're rich, related to a senator, or a famous celebrity.]] And if you're unlucky enough to manifest powers in one of the "prohibited" schools (necromancy, sentient elemental conjuration, gate magic, negramancy) or use a "legal" school in an illegal way (a physiomancer ripping apart human flesh, or a terramancer controlling animals) then you've only got the former two options. The ethics and morals of this system are debated extensively over the course of the book, with security versus freedom being a core theme. Ultimately, the protagonist decides he can't support a government that effectively imprisons and enslaves its own citizens for something they have no control over, and effects an escape.
** The second book, ''Fortress Frontier'', goes more into the laws surrounding Latents, and it makes it quite clear that the laws suppressing and controlling Latents were put into place by a completely ''terrified'' administration who believe that stripping Latents of their rights and forcing them into military service is the only way to protect society from them. Counterarguments are raised that the SuperRegistrationAct's harsh policies are the cause of the entire problem with Latents; Selfers rebel ''because'' their only options are imprisonment or military service, and many people argue against a system that strips rights from people for something they have no control over, particularly in a society that prizes individual freedoms.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/BabylonFive'' did a heartbreakingly thorough examination of this with the [=PsiCorps=], a government started program and organization that registered, [[strike:brainwashed]] trained, and ''hunted down'' rogue telepaths. It seemed to work well enough that its highest-powered and most loyal members eventually got to run it themselves. In the words of Garibaldi, "The Corps got started because we were afraid of telepaths. Now they're victims of our own fears. We took away every right they had and shoved them into a big black box called [=PsiCorps=]. Now look at them. [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Black uniforms, jackboots, giving orders]]..." Telepaths had only three legal choices: imprisonment, chemical nullification of their powers (often leading to death), or joining [=PsiCorps=]. It should come as no surprise that [=PsiCorps=] became a cloak and dagger organization with dozens of evil schemes, eventually leading to a teep civil war. They also do things such as breeding telepaths against their wills.
* This seems to be part of one possible future in the Series/{{Heroes}}verse, and was the plot of an entire season.
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'':
** The government agency "Checkmate" is attempting to do this in Season 9, willing to use kidnapping and murder to try to force superheroes under their thumb.
** In Season Ten, the government passes a "Vigilante Registration Act" with some help from [[spoiler: {{Darkseid}}'s influence.]] Several episodes later, efforts spearheaded by Senator Martha Kent get it repealed.
* In the short-lived, live-action sitcom version of ''Series/TheTick'', superheroes are required to have a hero license to operate within the City. However, the application process for such is simple and requires no background check, so the Tick easily makes up a false name to be listed as his secret identity. Furthermore, the consequences for not having a license are nonexistent.
* ''Series/TheFortyFourHundred'' in one ep mentioned that a politician crafted a law forcing all 4400's to register their powers with the guv'ment.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The ''TabletopGames/{{Champions}} 5th Edition'' has a Superhuman Registration Act in its game universe BackStory. It uses it in an uncommonly sensible fashion -- widespread public protests were unable to get it formally repealed, but it's now a law that the government virtually never tries to enforce, let alone use as an excuse for metahuman conscription. Several of the most prominent superhero teams of the Champions Universe have officially registered and sanctioned themselves, but many superheroes have chosen not to, with little official interference in their lives. It still remains on the books, but it's normally used only as the legal authority to demand (and record, and distribute) the true identity of any metahuman already being arrested on another criminal charge. However, the lives of registered metahumans are made easier in several ways as compared to unregistered ones -- they can testify in court without having to reveal their secret identities publically (as those identities have already been revealed to the government and are thus available to the court, if not the public), they are offered opportunities for basic law enforcement training and certification as deputies, etc. They do need to follow certain guidelines - not killing opponens unless completely unavoidable, trying to avoid colateral damage and such, however.
** Technically, those that are not registered are considered to be vigilanties and, as such, criminals. This is rarely enforced except in extreme cases; Vigilantes who kill opponents are considered criminals and are hunted by the law.
** Supervillains get no such option; those that are captured have their identity, powers and abilities recorded by the government, with that information being, in turn, sent to law enforcement agencies and registered superhero groups to help them.
** All countries have their own laws regarding Supers, sometimes radically different: In China, all Supers, as soon as they notice their powers, have to register and "voluntarily" join the Tiger Squad, China's official super team - or be hunted down and killed. Japan, on the other hand, has a number of Superheroes working with and for the government, but no Registration Act at all.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'', being an unregistered mutant is punishable by death. Since just about ''every'' player character and [=NPC=] is a mutant of some sort or another, and very few are registered, things can get interesting very quickly.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', the Imperium of Man makes a point to hunt down psykers, humans with psychic powers. The majority are killed, while the remnants are 'sanctioned' after much conditioning to serve the Imperium in various fashions, or used to [[PoweredByAForsakenChild power their giant space beacon]]. ([[JustifiedTrope Justified]] in that untrained psykers minds are open to the Warp, which [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity can make them dangerous]]).
** By "dangerous", we mean that rogue psykers tend to unwittingly summon or even create monstrous [[CosmicHorror Cosmic Horrors]] known as daemons wherever they go, as well as [[SuperPowerMeltdown other]] [[NegativeSpaceWedgie horrible]] [[SuperpoweredEvilSide things]]. A single rogue psyker can cause soul-eating daemons to overrun an ''entire planet'', forcing the Inquisition to come and deliver an EarthShatteringKaboom to the unfortunate world.
** And if the beacon were allowed to go out, the Imperium would collapse and humanity would be eaten by {{Eldritch Abomination}}s.
* The Moore Act in the "[[DarkAge Iron Age]]" setting of ''MutantsAndMasterminds'' made superheroes illegal in Freedom City. Named after Mayor Franklin Moore (who, in turn, was named after Creator/AlanMoore, creator of the Keene Act in ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'').
* White Wolf's ''TabletopGame/{{Aberrant}}'' had a rather underhanded variety. While there is no official law requiring Novas to register, their powers tend to be hard to control without specialized training and medical care. Both are available only from Project Utopia, so most of them end up there, policing their "unenlightened" brethren. In the process they're also [[spoiler:'''''unknowingly sterilized.''''' It should be no surprise that the setting concludes with every Nova on Earth discovering this fact and going on a RoaringRampageOfRevenge that pretty much [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt wrecks the entire world]] - after which the authorities [[WrittenByTheWinners destroy all records of their crimes]], claim that [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity all Novas inevitably go insane]], and systematically kill them from that point on.]]
** on a lighter note in the world of Aberrant there also exists image firms like Appellate Lexington, that will register a super identity and make up a costume for you [[spoiler: of course the next page has an anonymous Op Net user declaring the firms as a Utopia net to catch (identify/keep tabs) those Novas that evade Project Utopia's Rashoud Facilities]]
* Seen every so often in the ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'', where arcane spellcasters (who tend to be more independent and have less of a support structure than their divine counterparts) in particular are not uncommonly required to register with the local government and play by the latter's rules. The generally lawful good-ish nation of Cormyr requires ''all'' adventuring parties to register and get a proper charter in order to operate within its borders, although in this case it's less this trope as such and more an effort to keep tabs on freelance mercenaries (the definition of "adventurer" not necessarily including superhuman powers and all).
[[/folder]]


[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the {{MMORPG}} ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'', where super-powered individuals are, indeed, required to register their powers, identity, etc. with the local authorities in order to get their superhero license. This makes the superheroes official agents of the government, and gives them full rights to beat up anybody who wears gang symbols, black hats, or hooded robes. There is, however, a ShoutOut to the trope in the game's BackStory: a "Might for Rights" act was passed during the ColdWar, drafting super-powered individuals to "fight against communism", but it was overturned as unconstitutional after massive protests from said super-powered beings and their supporters. This lead to the formation of the Malta Operatives, who intend to kill any super who will not work for them and have developed weapons to fight them with.
** There's also a number of variations on the theme: villains are ''required'' to register their identities and powers as well, but their [=IDs=] are (depending on who you ask) either the property of the government, as all villains have to break out of prison as their tutorial, or property of Arachnos, which controls the Rogue Isles. There's also a number of references in the game to various histories of the "registered superheroes": some fought in World War 2 voluntarily as heroes, especially against German superpowered squads; a group of heroes led a harsh and ultimately controversial rampage against drugs; and so on. The latest incarnation of the Superhero Registration Act as it exists in the game today wasn't passed until the mid-to-late eighties, at which point ''sanctioned'' vigilantism in Paragon City began to skyrocket. There's also a number of logic extensions of the existence of such an act, most notably Hero Corps. After all, if vigilantism is legal...why not make a profit off of it?
** Some characters have identities which are secret from ''everyone'', even the government. In fact, there exists every level of publicity for a character, from identity-secret-to-everyone-no-exceptions, to my-hero-name-is-my-real-name.
* For ''VideoGame/ChampionsOnline'', see Tabletop -> Champions above.
* A program similar to the above Babylon 5 example exists in ''VideoGame/{{Starcraft}}'', where any telepath born within Confederate space must be taken to the Confederate training centers, where they're turned into the Ghosts ([[SuperSoldier psychic commandos]]). One of the most famous being Sarah Kerrigan. This program was continued by the Dominion.
* In the third ''VideoGame/MegaManStarForce'' game, it becomes impossible to [[TransformationSequence EM Wave Change]] without first joining up with the Satella Police and getting a "Transcode." As Geo demonstrates in the beginning of the game, trying to Wave Change without a Transcode locks up the Hunter-VG and makes it impossible to use.
* Suprisingly even a kids online game, ''VideoGame/{{Poptropica}}'', has this in effect on Super Power Island.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' it's mentioned in one of the codexes that the Tevinter Imperium at the height of its power maintained a registry of every mage/potential mage in the Empire. This system kind of broke down after the first Blight reduced the Imperium to its current VestigialEmpire state. The present day Circle of Magi and the Templars lack such a system; making it that much harder for them to find potential mages before they become demonic Abominations.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'': Specifically, if you do the sidequest in the [[VideoGame/MassEffect1 first game]] where you're trying to rescue Chairman Burns from biotic extremists and he ends up dead, there will be a news feature in the second game saying that lots of people are in favor of registering biotics. If the chairman lives, Kaidan talks about the government keeping track of biotics anyway, and that he figured "why not?" and joined the military.
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[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Registration in the webcomic ''AntiheroForHire'' exists, but is optional; Crossroads was actually ''rejected'' when she tried to join.
* The Webcomic ''Fellowship of Heroes'' offers a world with a voluntary superhero registration project to give heroes official sanction, with an organisation that doesn't hunt down unregistrated heroes. Still, "Indie" heroes are considered rather controversial. Word of God states that the agency is a largely declawed agency from the 50's and 60's. The government had created a superhero registration act and was trying to expand it to international law, but the heroes responded in a stunningly effective two-pronged manner: firstly they hitched their own cause with the Civil Rights movement (causing a GREAT deal of nasty surprises for the Klan, among others), and in the late sixties they resorted to deporting en masse to an independent island nation, refusing to offer any heroic aid to any nation that supported the superhero registration act. Massive public embarrassment-- and one or two hero-deprived natural disasters-- convinced most of the world governments to change their minds.
* In EverydayHeroes, only those superhumans who are active crime-fighters are required to register with the government. For a while Mr. Mighty held a series of civilian jobs. (He couldn't be a crime-fighter after marrying a former villainess.)
* In [[http://www.theheroesofcrash.com/ HeroesOfCrash]] registration is an optional thing that helps superheroes get assistance from the government if necessary. It's possible to be a non-registered superhero, but it involves trade-offs.
* ''Webcomic/SidekickGirl'' has this but it's a bureaucracy (for both heroes and villains) making it even more evil.
* [[AvertedTrope Averted]] and discussed in ''{{Spinnerette}}''. The supreme court has evidently decided that superpowers fall under second amendment protection, and laws have been passed enabling superheroes to act within the legal system without revealing identities to anybody, but there are also groups that oppose this state of affairs and want to take this trope more literally.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Pacificators}}'', people with [[ElementalPowers powers]] ''must'' become T-Pacificators, or otherwise they'll be labelled as renegades, and chased down to be impounded. There's no TakeAThirdOption at all.
* ''Webcomic/{{Onepunchman}}'' features the Heroes Association and their National Superhero Registry, which takes in and sponsors superheroes, tests them on their capability as a hero, and assigns them ranks and classes based on their abilities. Unlike most cases, operating as an unregistered hero isn't technically illegal, but it isn't very good for PR (the protagonist only signed up because [[DudeWheresMyRespect he wasn't getting any recognition for his deeds]].)
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[[folder:Web Original]]
* This is basically the status quo in the WhateleyUniverse, where mutants are required by law to have a Mutant ID card and present it at customs or when boarding commercial flights. Students at Whateley Academy can choose to either 'voluntarily' get one or be expelled.
* Literature/FineStructure reaches this level of conflict around year 11.
* "The Company" in ''FanFic/TheReturn'' takes a mixture of the first three options. Only author-fiat has prevented the inevitable disaster.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''[[WesternAnimation/AvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes]]'' has an AbortedArc in which Maria Hill takes Nick Fury's place as director of SHIELD, and tries in vain to make the Avengers give up their vigilante ways, and register as official crimefighters.
* In ''IronManArmoredAdventures'', Senator R. Kelly was trying to get this act push through on mutants. [[UngratefulBastard Even after one of them saved his life]].
* Also appears in the early-'90s ''WesternAnimation/{{X-Men}}'' cartoon, though the "Mutant Control Agency" in that series is "a private organization, occasionally supported by the government", and the registration is seemingly done voluntarily. Later, the government tries to shut it down when they notice the X-Men breaking, determining that if mutants were taking violent action against the organization than it was getting too extreme. Apparently nobody in the government checked to notice that the control agency had plans to send giant robots out to abduct any mutants that registered, and [[HeWhoFightsMonsters likely caused more damage than the mutants they were supposed to protect the common humans from]].
** And Later in ''XMenEvolution'' when Former Principal Edward Kelly is running for Mayor and one of his plans is for a Mutant Registration Act, to essentially segregate Mutants from humans and treat them like an inferior race. The X-Men are unwilling to get involved due to the way it could backfire. The Brotherhood, not so much.
** The Mutant Response Division in ''WesternAnimation/{{Wolverine And The X-Men}}'' is charged with finding mutants and "registering" them-this often means holding them indefinitely. The creators mention in the commentary that the "Mardies" actually have good reasons to exist (One episode featured a mutant whose powers were so dangerous and uncontrolled that even ''he'' knew locking him up was the best option), and would be a positive thing if they weren't led by a GeneralRipper and caught between Senator Kelly and Magneto's bids for all-out war. Their success rate is pretty abysmal against the Brotherhood and the X-Men until they build the [[KillerRobot Sentinels]] and Master Mold, [[AIIsACrapShoot which causes its own problems]].
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