Copyright Office Proposes 41% increase

Posted on 6/13/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The U.S. Copyright Office is proposing changes to fees for copyright registration. The Office has issued a statement outlining the proposed changes in detail, but on average, fees will increase by as much as 41%.

According to the statement, the Office analyzed potential changes to fees and wants to ensure that they are “fair and equitable and give due consideration to the objectives of the copyright system,” as required by the statute.

There are two reasons behind the average fee increase of 41%. One is to account for inflationary increases, and the other is to cover the expected cost of information technology modernization over the next few years. The statement reads that the Office expects that “the higher fees will decrease overall fee processing by approximately 14% at least temporarily, but that this decrease will be offset by a more appropriate level of cost recovery.” As for the revenue, the Office estimates that these proposed fees will bring in roughly $41 million per year.

Earlier this year, the Office implemented some changes to the copyright registration process. One of the changes that caused the most significant reaction is limiting the maximum number of photos in a single application to 750. This by itself can make the process more expensive for those who want to register a larger number of images.

Here is the table of current and proposed cost of copyright registration fees, along with the Office’s cost of service:

  Current Fees Proposed Fees Calculated
  (Dollars) (Dollars) cost of service
Basic Registrations     (Dollars)
Standard Application (electronic only) 55 75 90
Single Application (electronic only) 35 55 86
Paper Application 85 125 118
Group Registrations      
(1) Group Registration of contributions to periodicals 85 85 71
(2) Group registration of serials, per issue, with a minimum of 2 issues:      
(i) Electronic filing New Fee
70 76
(ii) Paper filing (Form SE/Group) 25 70 101
(3) Group registration of newspapers/newsletters:      
(i) Electronic filing for group newspapers and group newsletters 80 (group newspapers)
95 64
(ii) Paper filing for group newsletters (Form G/DN) 80 125 88
(4) Group registration of unpublished photographs (GRUPH) (up to 750 published photographs) New Fee
100 284
(5) Group registration of publish photographs (GRPPH) (up to 750 published photographs) 65 (paper)
100 284
  55 (electronic)

(6) Group registration of updates and revisions to photographic databases 65 (paper)
250 N/A
  55 (electronic)
(7) Group registration of updates and revisions to non-photographic databases 85 500 694
(8) Group registration of unpublished works New Fee
85  N/A
(9) Group registration of secure test items New Fee
75 883

As you can see, even after the increase, the fees will not fully cover the Office’s cost of copyright registration. Only a part of the cost comes from fees with the rest being covered by taxpayer dollars. According to the comments, the increase is too high for many users, despite the benefits you get when you apply for copyright registration.

For now, this is only a proposal for an increase to fees. The Office gives you the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes before it submits the fee schedule to Congress. So, you can submit your comments via this link, and the deadline is 23 July 2018.

Copyright © 2018 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