U.S. Copyright Office Adjusts Fees To Discourage Paper Registrations

Posted on 6/5/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

A new fee schedule for copyright services will take effect on August 1, assuming Congressional approval. The new rates reflect the 2007 reengineering and increased automation of the U.S. Copyright Office, general economic factors and the fairness and accessibility of the copyright system.

The Copyright Office released a statement stressing that the recent implementation of an electronic copyright-registration process has resulted in cost savings that allow some service rates to remain the same or decrease. Other rates, particularly those for services that require manual labor, will rise.

Such services include document recordation, record searches and, most significantly, on-paper copyright-registration applications, where the cost of filing is going up by $20 to $65. In a report submitted to Congress in March, register of copyrights Marybeth Peters said that the Copyright Office wants to discourage traditional applications, because they are the most costly to provide and process.

“More than 50% of copyright claims are now being submitted through eCO,” Peters said. The goal of the new fee structure, which retains the $35 eCO filing fee, is to encourage another 30% to 40% of filers to switch to the new system: “The total annual savings for filers and the government will be tremendous, and filers will get their registration certificates more quickly—the waiting time to receive certificates is much shorter for users of eCO than for those who submit paper applications.”

It currently takes the Copyright Office six months to process an electronic application—a far cry from the original plan of a one-month turnaround. Still, this is substantially better than the alternative. The government is currently working on copyright-registration applications received in 2007, and the backlog of applications exceeds 500,000 and grows at the rate of 3,000 per week.

The proposed fee adjustments will be implemented unless Congress enacts a law stating that it does not approve the new fees before August 1.

Copyright © 2009 Julia Dudnik Stern. 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


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