Copyright Registration Becomes More Expensive

Posted on 5/4/2012 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The U.S. Copyright Office is proposing to increase the registration fee for filing an online application from $35 to $65, and the fee for using a paper application from $65 to $100. They are requesting a fee increase because in 2011 fee receipts only covered 59.5% of the cost of providing the service. The rest comes out of the taxpayers pockets.

The Copyright Office has requested comments by next month. All the major trade associations are gathering information for a response. No one that I have talked to thinks raising fees is a good idea. Most believe it will further discourage photographers from registering.
The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) is asking photographers to take a quick 3-minute survey to provide them with information about how the proposed changes would impact you. The survey will close at midnight EST on May 10.

Photographers can submit their own comments directly to the Copyright Office by using this link: .

The public notice of the change is available at:

After answering the basic survey questions the NPPA asks respondents to supply any additional information that, “you would like us to consider including in our official comments to the Copyright Office?” The following is what I added:

    In today's business and legal environment the registration process is more of a hindrance than a help in protecting the ownership rights of creators. Photographers, in particular, are required to spend an inordinate amount of time and effort, not to mention money, to register their work. If a case ever gets to court it is often thrown out in legal maneuvers.

    The more difficult and costly it becomes to protect ones ownership rights the fewer people will try. They will either only create things where they are insured of adequate compensation at the time the creation is first shown to the public, be willing to invest more in creation than they will ever receive in compensation, or give up creating all together. The U.S. Congress should modify the copyright law to bring it more in line with the Berne Convention and 21st Century reality. A 19th Century approach to how to protect creator rights no longer works.

It is interesting that a very small percentage of those who are creating images in the U.S. bother to register them with the Copyright Office. The Copyright Office wants to encourage more registration, but raising the fee will tend to drive more creators away. As fewer creators register, and in order to cover there costs they will have to charge even more.

Copyright © 2012 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff