Like so many businesses today, the United States Copyright Office is taking steps to update its operations from a paper based to a web-based processing environment. The Copyright Office, located in the Library of Congress, handles about 550 claims annually and will enter the next phase in the implementation of its multi-year business reengineering effort on July 1
Like so many businesses today, the United States Copyright Office is taking steps to update its operations from a paper based to a web-based processing environment. The Copyright Office, located in the Library of Congress, handles about 550 claims annually and will enter the next phase in the implementation of its multi-year business reengineering effort on July 1.
Efforts to restructure registration procedures towards online formats aim to expedite the submission process and reduce errors in filing. After almost a year of beta-testing the new web-based system is finally ready for public release, but the efforts represent a continual trial and error period rather than a quick fix, according to Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters. “We will continue evaluating and making adjustments in workflows in the various process areas, testing and development of the IT system, and making the system enhancements in response to feedback from both our staff and customers,” she said.
At the heart of the reengineering initiative is a new online registration system named the electronic Copyright Office, or eCO, which the Office plans to release through a portal on its web site July 1. Filing an eService claim via eCO offers several advantages, including lower filing fees ($35 rather than $45), faster processing time, earlier effective dates of registration, online status tracking, secure credit or debit payments and the ability to upload certain categories of deposits directly into eCO as electronic files. Initially, the eCO beta-testing was restricted to application-selective test groups, but the system is now being offered to anyone who completes a short online request form.
Even users who intend to submit hard copies of the registered works may file an application and payment online and generate an eCO-based shipping slip to attach to the hardcopy deposit. Starting July 1, eCO may be used to register basic claims to copyright for literary works, visual arts works, performing arts works including motion pictures, sound recordings and single serials. Basic claims include single works, multiple unpublished works by the same author(s) and owned by the same claimant, and multiple published works if all first published together in the same publication on the same date and owned by the same claimant.
Come July, the new Form CO will also effectively replace six traditional paper application forms traditionally used in the past. Users will complete a Form CO online, print it out and send it to the Copyright office with payment and copies of the work being registered. But hold on there, folks – this convenience ain’t free. The fee for registering a basic claim using the Form CO is $45, a significant cost, but no more than using the traditional method.
The U.S. Copyright Office was established as a separate department in the Library of Congress in 1897. The office registers claims to copyright, maintains and makes available records of registrations, records and maintains documents related to copyrights, administers compulsory license and provides policy expertise to the U.S. Congress and executive branch agencies. The Copyright Office transfers more than 1 million items each year to the Library’s collections. For more information on the various forms of registration or to access eCO, go to the Copyright OfficeWEBSITE.