US Copyright Office
NewsNet Issue 749
February 13, 2019
U.S. Copyright Office Publishes Final Rule Amending Freedom of Information Act Practices and Procedures
The Copyright Office has adopted a final rule, effective March 15, 2019, amending Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) practices and procedures. In 2017, the Office issued an interim rule, implementing the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. The final rule makes minimal amendments to the interim rule in response to public comments and updated guidance from the Department of Justice. Specifically, the updated final rule alerts requesters as to the availability of Office of Government Information Services when providing notice of unusual circumstances and adopts streamlined fee waiver procedures. The regulations provide a clear structure for the required regulatory provisions of FOIA, formalize Office practices of multitrack processing and aggregation, and provide areas of enhanced customer service. The rule and comments are available here.
NewsNet Issue 748
February 13, 2019
U.S. Copyright Office Issues Updated Rule Relating to Group Registration of Newspapers
The U.S. Copyright Office has published a final rule in the Federal Register amending its regulations for the group registration of newspapers. The Office previously updated its newspaper group registration regulations in March 2018, implementing several changes to promote efficiency in the registration process and encourage broader participation in the registration system by reducing the burden on applicants. Among other changes, the rule enabled publishers to register a group of newspapers by submitting an electronic application and a PDF copy of each issue within three months after the publication of the earliest issue in the group.
In response to concerns expressed by some publishers over the burdens presented by the three-month deadline, the Office has amended the regulations to eliminate that requirement. Publishers now will be permitted to submit group registration claims regardless of when their newspaper issues were published. Likewise, publishers may electronically file new applications for claims that were refused because they were filed on a paper form or without a digital deposit, or because they were received after the three-month deadline.
The Office will monitor the effect of this change on registrations and Library of Congress collections. In the meantime, the Office has prepared a number of materials to assist applicants seeking to utilize the newspaper group registration option, including a video tutorial, answers to frequently asked questions, and a circular.
NewsNet Issue 747
February 13, 2019
U.S. Copyright Office Issues Final Rule Establishing Group Registration for Unpublished Works
As part of its efforts to modernize and improve the registration process, the U.S. Copyright Office has adopted a final rule, effective March 15, 2019, that establishes a group registration option for unpublished works. This new rule will allow copyright owners to register up to ten unpublished works for a single filing fee, provided each work has the same author and claimant and is the same administrative class. The rule replaces the option to register unpublished collections. The rule will facilitate efficient examination of unpublished works for copyrightable authorship, create a more robust record of claims, and improve the overall efficiency of the registration process.
Important note for photographers: Today’s rule does not replace the procedure for registering unpublished photographs. Photographers may continue to register up to 750 photos with one application and one filing fee using the group registration option for photographs. For more information, see Circular 42.
NewsNet Issue 746
February 8, 2019
Copyright Office Applauds United States Joining the Marrakesh Treaty
Today, the United States officially joined the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (“Marrakesh Treaty”) by depositing its instrument of ratification with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This means that the United States’ obligations under the Marrakesh Treaty enter into force in ninety days, on May 8, 2019.
Karyn A. Temple, Acting Register of Copyrights, stated, “The United States’ formal membership in the Marrakesh Treaty marks a major achievement for our country and a significant positive step forward for the millions of persons who are blind and visually impaired throughout the world. The United States will now join our fellow nations in promoting greater accessibility to print materials around the globe.”
The Marrakesh Treaty requires its contracting member nations to make it easier for those with print disabilities to access printed works in accessible formats such as Braille and digital audio files. It also establishes rules for the international exchange of accessible format copies. The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted at a diplomatic conference in June 2013 and the treaty entered into force in September 2016. The United States is the 50th WIPO member state to deposit its instrument.
Current materials on the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty in U.S. law are available on the Copyright Office website at https://www.copyright.gov/international-issues/.
NewsNet Issue 745
February 5, 2019
U.S. Copyright Office Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding the Noncommercial Use Exception to Unauthorized Uses of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings
Pursuant to the Classics Protection and Access Act, title II of the Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (MMA), the Copyright Office has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the noncommercial use exception to unauthorized uses of sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972 (Pre-1972 Sound Recordings).
In connection with the establishment of federal remedies for unauthorized uses of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings, Congress established an exception for certain noncommercial uses of Pre-1972 Sound Recordings that are not being commercially exploited. To qualify for this exemption, a user must file a notice of noncommercial use after conducting a good faith, reasonable search, and the rights owner of the sound recording must not object to the use within ninety days of the notice being indexed in the Copyright Office’s public record.
After soliciting public comments through a notice of inquiry, the Office is proposing regulations identifying the specific steps that a user should take to demonstrate she has made a good faith, reasonable search. The proposed rule also details the filing requirements for the user to submit a notice of noncommercial use and for a rights owner to submit a notice objecting to such use.
The instructions on how to submit a comment are available here. Written comments must be received no later than March 7, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. eastern time.
NewsNet Issue 744
February 1, 2019
Copyright Office Announces Additional Roundtable for Section 512 Study
The U.S. Copyright Office is announcing that it will hold a one-day public roundtable on April 8, 2019, in Washington, DC, to gather further input for its study on section 512. The roundtable will allow interested members of the public to address relevant domestic and international developments relating to online service provider liability that have occurred since the close of the study’s written comment period on February 6, 2017. Specifically, the roundtable will consider the following topics: (1) recent domestic case law interpreting provisions of the DMCA safe harbor framework and (2) recent international legal and policy developments related to addressing liability for infringing content online.
Those seeking to participate in the roundtable should complete and submit the online form available here. Requests to participate must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. eastern time on March 15, 2019. For further information on this study, please see https://www.copyright.gov/policy/section512/.
Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies; Final rule
Oct. 22, 2015