Handling about 550,000 copyright claims annually, the U.S. Copyright Office in the Library of Congress is making it much easier for the public to register and protect its collective creativity. On July 1, the Copyright Office will enter the next phase in the implementation of its multi-year business process re-engineering effort to modernize operations from a paper-based to a Web-based processing environment.
“The Copyright Office’s re-engineering initiative is not a goal, but a framework to continually improve business operations,” said Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights. “We will continue evaluating and making adjustments in workflows in the various process areas, testing and development of the IT system, and making system enhancements in response to feedback from both our staff and our customers.”
At the heart of the re-engineering initiative is a new online registration system named electronic Copyright Office (eCO), which the Office plans to release through a portal on its Web site on July 1. Filing an eService claim via eCO offers several advantages:
- lower filing fee of $35 for a basic claim;
- fastest processing time;
- earlier effective date of registration;
- online status tracking;
- secure payment by credit or debit card, electronic check or Copyright Office deposit account;
- and ability to upload certain categories of deposits directly into eCO as electronic files.
Even users who intend to submit a hard copy of the work being registered may file an application and payment online and print out an eCO-generated shipping slip to be attached to the hardcopy deposit. Beginning 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 Basic claims include (1) a single work, (2) multiple unpublished works if they are by the same author(s) and owned by the same claimant, and (3) multiple published works if they are all first published together in the same publication on the same date and owned by the same claimant.
In July the Copyright Office also plans to release the new Form CO, which effectively replaces six traditional paper application forms. Users will complete a Form CO online, print it out and send it to the Copyright Office with payment and a copy(ies) of the work being registered. Each Form CO is imprinted with 2-D barcodes that are scanned to automatically transfer the information contained in the form into an eCO service request record. The fee for registering a basic claim using Form CO is $45.
Paper applications for basic claims will still be made available through the Copyright Office. The fee for registering a basic claim using a traditional application form is $45. For more information on the various forms of registration or to access eCO, go to the Copyright Office Web site at www.copyright.gov
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 one million items each year to the Library’s collections.
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, with more than 138 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. As the world’s largest repository of knowledge and creativity, the Library is a symbol of democracy and the principles on which this nation was founded. Today the Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site, in its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill, and through its award-winning Web site at www.loc.gov