Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189

April 16, 1997

Copyright Office Initiates Second CORDS Test Site For Digital Copyright Registration and Deposit System

The U.S. Copyright Office has just opened its second test site for the CORDS System (Copyright Office Electronic Registration, Recordation and Deposit System). Stanford University is cooperating with the Copyright Office to test the new electronic registration and deposit system that receives copyright applications, deposited works, and related documents transmitted in digital form over international communications networks such as the Internet, and processes them electronically.

"Once fully implemented, the CORDS registration and deposit system will benefit both the Copyright Office and copyright owners by providing an efficient new registration mechanism," said Register of Copyrights Marybeth Peters. "It should also provide an effective source for the Library of Congress to acquire new publications in digital form for its growing national digital library collections."

During the week of February 24, 1997, Stanford University's Department of Computer Science successfully transmitted digital copies of three technical reports along with copyright application forms filled out on-line and "signed" digitally, using public key/private key encryption technology. Stanford staff prepared and submitted the copyright registration materials using CORDS in a matter of minutes. The CORDS system enables the Copyright Office to complete its processing and issue a copyright registration certificate within about three weeks, compared with four or more months under the current largely manual process. Copyright examination was completed the next day and the digital work was quickly forwarded electronically to the queue for copyright cataloging online.

CORDS was initiated in FY '93 as a joint project of the U.S.Copyright Office with the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) under joint funding from the Library of Congress and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). With the support of the Library of Congress and DARPA, CNRI is leading a national effort with the U.S. Copyright Office to develop an infrastructure for linking digital works in electronic libraries and other transaction-based systems. Associate Register for National Copyright Programs Mary Levering is coordinating development of CORDS.

The CORDS system allows applicants to submit applications and works in digital form over the Internet, using the latest version of privacy enhanced mail (Mime Object Security Systems-MOSS) to digitally "sign" their submissions. The Copyright Office then verifies the authenticity of these electronic submissions, debits fees from the applicants' Copyright Office deposit accounts, and returns electronic acknowledgments or correspondence to the applicants. Individual digital works will be assigned unique Digital Object Identifiers, called "DOIs" or "handles." The office's digital repository will store these digital copyrighted works in a secure and verifiable manner.

When linked to standardized naming conventions (handles), copyright registration permits creators and owners to record the existence of intellectual property in the form of digital objects. It also allows users to determine whether digital objects exist and where to locate them. A framework for managing access to copyrighted works in qualified digital repositories is essential for digital libraries because it enables them to provide authorized access to users, while assuring the authenticity and integrity of the stored digital work. Coincidentally, both of the first two CORDS submissions from Stanford University call to mind the broader national goals of CORDS, relating to digital library infrastructure and management of access to copyrighted works in digital libraries. The first two technical reports submitted were entitled: "Towards Interoperability in Digital Libraries: Overview and Selected Highlights" and "A Communication Agreement Framework of Access/Action Control."

The Copyright Office first proved the concept of CORDS electronic copyright registration and deposit with its initial test partner, Carnegie-Mellon University, in 1996. Several additional test phases are planned for 1997. The office will continue testing and improving the system over the next few years, working closely with representative groups of copyright owners to register in digital form a limited number of various types of works. These include electronic journals; books; digital dissertations; pictorial and graphic materials such as photographs, charts and maps; sound recordings; computer programs; and videos. During the forthcoming test phases, the Copyright Office and CNRI will continue to expand the system's capabilities and capacity, while making corrections and enhancements to the system for later national deployment.

The Library's future digital collections will include a wide variety of materials, including new titles received in digital form via copyright deposit or other means as well as older works converted from the Library's historical collections for educational purposes as part of its National Digital Library Program.

The copyright system has been a part of the Library of Congress since 1870. In addition to administering the copyright law, the U.S. Copyright Office creates and maintains the public record of copyright registrations and recorded documents, provides technical assistance and policy advice on copyright issues to Congress and executive branch agencies, offers information to the general public, and obtains copies of works for the collections of the Library of Congress.

# # #

PR 97-66
ISSN 0731-3527

Back to top