The Copyright Office amends its regulations through rulemakings. These proceedings often involve solicitation of comments from interested parties, roundtable discussions, reply comments, and hearings. Listed below are rulemakings that include such public input. In many cases, public comments, reply comments, and hearing transcripts are provided within the webpages listed below.
- Section 115 License Statement of Account Rulemaking
On July 27, 2012, the Copyright Office published a notice of proposed rulemaking and request for comments concerning amendments the regulations for reporting Monthly and Annual Statements of Account for the making and distribution of phonorecords under the compulsory license, 17 U.S.C. 115, to bring the regulations up to date to accommodate recent and pending rate determinations by the Copyright Royalty Judges, which among other things provide new rates for limited downloads, interactive streaming and incidental digital phonorecord deliveries, and to harmonize these reporting requirements with the existing regulations for reporting the making and distribution of physical phonorecords, permanent downloads and ringtones. Statement of Account Rulemaking
Statement of Account Rulemaking
The Copyright Office is seeking written comments on a proposed regulation concerning the verification and audit of statements of account that cable operators and satellite carriers file with the Office. Cable operators and satellite carriers file these statements and submit royalty payments every six months in order to use the statutory license that allows them to retransmit broadcast signals under Sections 111 and 119 of the Copyright Act. The proposed regulation would allow copyright owners to appoint an auditor to verify the accuracy of these statements. In addition, it would give cable operators and satellite carriers an opportunity to correct any errors identified in the auditor's report and to correct any underpayments that the auditor may discover. The Office welcomes comments on the proposed regulation from copyright owners, cable operators, satellite carriers, accounting professionals, and other interested parties.
Notice of proposed rulemaking:78 FR 27137 May 9, 2013 - PDF
Notice of proposed rulemaking:77 FR 35643 June 14, 2012 - PDF
Petition for SAO Audit Rulemaking: PDF
- Electronic filing in the Copyright Office of Notices of Intention to obtain a Section 115 compulsory license
The Copyright Office is proposing to amend its regulations for filing Notices of Intention to obtain a Section 115 compulsory license with the Copyright Office to provide an option for electronically filing the notice. By law, such notices may be filed in the Office only when the public records of the Copyright Office do not identify the copyright owner of the musical work and include an address at which notice can be served. In addition, the Copyright Office is proposing to clarify in its regulations that it does not examine Notices of Intention filed with the Office for legal sufficiency and to include a Privacy Act Advisory Statement.
- Registration of Copyright: Definition of Claimant
The Copyright Office proposes to amend its regulations governing the definition of a "claimant" for purposes of copyright registration by eliminating the footnote to the definition of a "claimant" in § 202.3(a)(3)(ii). The footnote currently extends the definition of a claimant to include individuals or entities that have obtained the contractual right to claim legal title to copyright in an application for copyright registration. This amendment would clarify that the copyright claimant must be either the author of the work, or a person or organization that has obtained ownership of all of the exclusive rights initially belonging to the author.
- Designation of Online Service Provider Agent
The Copyright Office is proposing to amend its regulations and practices governing the designation by online service providers of agents to receive notifications of claimed copyright infringement as provided for in section 512 of the Copyright Act. The Office intends to implement an electronic process by which service providers may designate agents to receive notifications of claimed infringement and an electronic database of designated agents of online service providers. In order to create the online database and to update the information currently maintained by the Copyright Office, it is proposed that all online service providers must file new designations of agents within one year after new regulations go into effect, and that thereafter all online service providers must update and/or verify the accuracy of their information in the database at least once every two years.
Designation of Online Service Provider Agent (Sept 2011— )
- Discontinuance of Form CO in Registration Practices
The Copyright Office is proposing to amend its regulations to: (1) discontinue use of the Form CO application as an option for applying for copyright registrations; and (2) remove the references to CON 1 and CON 2 sheets. Form CO applications comprise only a small percentage of all applications submitted but contain a significant number of errors, thus requiring a disproportionate amount of the Office’s time, effort and resources to process. The proposed amendments would remove references to Form CO and would instead allow applicants a choice to file an application for registration using either the Copyright Office’s electronic filing system for certain works or the specific forms that relate to the subject matter of the application. Additionally, the proposed amendment would remove the references to CON 1 and CON 2 sheets, which were never prepared or made available to the public, and would instead refer only to the continuation sheets currently available for applicants filing paper applications.
Discontinuance of Form CO in Registration Practices (Sept 2011— )
- Exemption to Prohibition on Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems for Access Control Technologies
The Copyright Office is conducting this rulemaking proceeding mandated by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which provides that the Librarian of Congress may designate certain classes of works as exempt from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works when such circumvention is done to engage in noninfringing uses of works in the designated classes. The designations will remain in place for a period of three years.
Current Rulemaking (Sept 2011— )
- Automated Databases Consisting Predominantly of Photographs
The Copyright Office is proposing to amend its regulations, including the recently published interim regulations regarding electronic registration of automated databases that consist predominantly of photographs and group registration of published photographs (the ''Interim Regulations''), governing the deposit requirements for applications for automated databases that consist predominantly of photographs. The proposed amendments would require that, in addition to providing material relating to claimed compilation authorship, the deposits for such databases include the image of each photograph in which copyright is claimed. The Office believes that this amendment will align the deposit requirements for such databases with the deposit requirements for published or unpublished photographs as a single work or group registration of published photographs and provide a better public record identifying the scope of the copyright claim.
- Refunds Under the Cable Statutory License
The Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (“STELA”), Pub. L. No 111-175, amended Section 111 of the Copyright Act to allow a cable system to calculate its royalty payments on a community-by-community basis, rather than on a system-wide basis. STELA also eliminated the possibility of an infringement action against those cable systems that historically did not pay for carriage of “phantom signals,” and it clarified that cable systems that had paid for carriage of these signals were not entitled to a refund or offset for those payments. The legislation, however, did not address whether a cable system was entitled to a refund for non-phantom related reporting errors in the case where the cable system has an outstanding balance owed for the carriage of such signals for an accounting period prior to 2010. The Copyright Office seeks comment on whether a cable operator may receive refunds in situations where it has failed to pay for the carriage of distant signals on a system-wide basis under the Copyright Act before STELA amended the Act.
- Possible Gap in Termination Provisions
The Copyright Office is proposing to amend its regulations governing notices of termination of certain grants of transfers and licenses of copyright under section 203 of the Copyright Act of 1976. The amendments are intended to clarify the recordation practices of the Copyright Office regarding the content of section 203 notices of termination and the timeliness of their service and recordation, including a clarification that the Office will accept for recordation under section 203 a notice of termination of a grant agreed to before January 1, 1978, as long as the work that is the subject of the grant was not created before 1978. Whether such notices of termination fall within the scope of section 203 will ultimately be a matter to be resolved by the courts.
Possible Gap in Termination Provisions
- Mandatory Deposit of Published Electronic Works Available Only Online
The Copyright Office of the Library of Congress is proposing to amend its regulations governing mandatory deposit of electronic works published in the United States and available only online.
The amendments would establish that such works are exempt from mandatory deposit until a demand for deposit of copies or phonorecords of such works is issued by the Copyright Office. They would also set forth the process for issuing and responding to a demand for deposit, amend the definition of a ‘‘complete copy’’ of a work for purposes of mandatory deposit of online–only works, and establish new best edition criteria for electronic serials available only online. The Copyright Office seeks public comment on these proposed revisions.
Mandatory Deposit of Published Electronic Works Available Only Online
- Minimum Balance Requirement and Automatic Replenishment Option for Deposit Account Holders
The Copyright Office is proposing to amend its regulations to set the minimum level of activity required to hold a deposit account at 12 transactions per year; require deposit account holders to maintain a minimum balance in that account; mandate the closure of a deposit account the second time it is overdrawn; and offer deposit account holders the option of automatic replenishment of their account via their bank account or credit card.
Minimum Balance Requirement and Automatic Replenishment Option for Deposit Account Holders
- Cable Reporting Practices
The Copyright Office is seeking comment on proposed rules governing the royalty reporting practices of cable operators and concomitant revisions to the Statements of Account filed pursuant to Section 201.17 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
Cable Reporting Practices
- Definition of a Cable System: Phantom Signals
The Copyright Office initiated a proceeding to examine the “phantom signal” phenomenon. This matter arises under, and is tied to, the definition of the term “cable system” in Section 111 of the Copyright Act and the Copyright Office's implementing rules.
- Section 109 Study on the Cable and Satellite Statutory Licenses under the Copyright Act
Section 109 of the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act (SHVERA) of 2004, requires the Register of Copyrights to prepare a report for Congress regarding the operation and revision of the Sections 111, 119, and 122 statutory licenses under the Copyright Act, including her findings and recommendations.
- Rulemaking on Exemptions from Prohibition on Circumvention of Technological Measures that Control Access to Copyrighted Works
The Copyright Office conducted this rulemaking proceeding mandated by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which provides that the Librarian of Congress may exempt certain classes of works from the prohibition against circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works.
- Retransmission of Digital Broadcast Signals Pursuant to the Cable Statutory License
- Technical and Digital Phonorecords Delivery Compulsory License
Section 115 of the Copyright Act provides a statutory license for the making and distribution of phonorecords of nondramatic musical works, which includes the right to distribute a phonorecord by means of a ‘‘digital phonorecord delivery’’ (‘‘DPD’’). The statute includes a definition of a DPD, and acknowledges the existence of additional DPDs ‘‘where the reproduction or distribution of the phonorecord is incidental to the transmission which constitutes the [DPD]’’. However, the law does not identify which DPDs can be classified as incidental or provide guidelines for making this decision.
The Copyright Office initiated a proceeding to address several issues associated with the secondary retransmission of digital television broadcast signals by cable operators under Section 111 of the Copyright Act.
In addition to issues regarding the scope of the 115 license, the Office continues to explore ways in which the service of Notice of Intention to Obtain Compulsory License under section 115 may be further streamlined.