The US Copyright Office Wants Your Feedback on a Modern, Digital Copyright System

The US Copyright Office wants to build a new, modern digital registration system.  But it needs your help first.

In order to better serve copyright owners in the digital age, the US Copyright Office has an interesting proposal.  And, it wants your feedback.

The branch of the Library of Congress has published a Federal Register notice.  It’s outlined the way it seeks to modernize the current copyright registration system to fit the advanced modern age.

The notice reads,

The U.S. Copyright Office has published a notice of inquiry requesting written comments on how to improve the regulations and practices related to the registration of copyright claims in the digital age.

Understanding that its registration services are “vital to creators and users of creative works,” the Copyright Office wants to completely replace its current electronic system – eCO.  It wants to implement a ‘modern solution’ aimed at first improving the user experience.

The organization also wants to increase its own efficiency when processing copyright claims, drastically cutting down on processing times.  In the long-run, these changes will help the Copyright Office properly enforce intellectual property rights in court.

But, before the Copyright Office can implement a modern solution, it’s considering multiple legal and policy changes.  These will help “meet the demand of users of creative works of all types.”

So, the Copyright Office has asked input on three areas of reform.

First, it wants public feedback on the administration and substance of the application for registration.

Second, it seeks to understand the utility of the public record.

Finally, the Copyright Office wants to know about the deposit requirements for registration.  The Copyright Office has considered issuing digital certificates of registration.  It may charge a fee for printed certificates.

To convince the public to line up behind the initiative, the Copyright Office writes,

As always, the Office is interested in the perspectives and suggestions of copyright owners as well as users of creative works.

To submit an official comment, you’ll have to do so at

In order to submit feedback, you can type them directly into a comment field or submit a short comment as an attachment.  But, to upload a comment, you’ll have to ensure it contains your full name along with the organization you represent.  These must be placed at the top of the document.

The Copyright Office explains,

This information is required in the uploaded document even though the submitter is also completing the fields in the comment form asking for First Name, Last Name and, where applicable, Organization Name.

If you’re uploading a comment, you shouldn’t type anything into the Comment field.  In addition, submitted files must not exceed 6 MB.  The Copyright Office will only accept submissions in the following formats – a PDF containing searchable, accessible text, Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, RTF, or ASCII text.

For individual commenters, first and last names are required.  They must also leave the ‘I am submitting on behalf of a third party’ box unchecked.  Individual commenters can also choose to provide their contact information.

The Copyright Office explains,

Please note that all information and files provided in the submission process will be publicly available.

For commenters submitting on behalf of an organization, they must list the first and last name of the authorized representative responsible.  Organizational commenters must also check the box labeled ‘I am submitting on behalf of a third party.”  In addition, they must provide the name of the organization in the Organization Name field.

You can view the rules and a link to the comment submission form here.  The Copyright Office will only receive written comments until January 15th, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. ET.


Featured image by Ken Lund (CC by 2.0).

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