Licensing


What's New

Congress recently passed the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014 (“STELARA”), which the President signed into law on December 4, 2014. This law reauthorizes for another five years the satellite carrier distant broadcast signal license found in Section 119 of the Copyright Act. The statutory license for such satellite retransmissions is now scheduled to expire December 31, 2019. STELARA expands the local service area for cable retransmissions of low power television stations and requires the GAO to conduct a report concerning changes to carriage requirements that would be required or beneficial to consumers if Congress phased out the statutory compulsory licensing procedures under Sections 111 and 119 of the Act. STELARA also amends several provisions of the Communications Act and requires the FCC to publish information and conduct rulemakings in connection with the implementation of portions of STELARA. For further detail on those matters, consult the FCC’s website at www.fcc.gov.


To help us serve you better, please participate in an anonymous website survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Z789QLS

Licensing Division

The Licensing Division is responsible for helping to administer the various statutory licenses and similar provisions, including: secondary transmissions of radio and television programs by cable and satellite systems; making and distributing phonorecords of nondramatic musical works; and importing, manufacturing, and distributing digital audio recording devices or media.


In general the division deducts its operating costs from the royalty fees collected and invests the balance in interest-bearing securities with the U.S. Treasury for later distribution to copyright owners (see Report of Receipts). The division also collects filing fees to cover part of the costs in administering the cable and satellite licenses. For further information read Circular 75, The Licensing Division of the Copyright Office.


Visit the Copyright Royalty Board website for information on determination of rates and terms for the copyright statutory licenses and for determinations on distribution of statutory license royalties collected by the Copyright Office.

Organization of the Division

The Examining Section examines licensing documents submitted for a statutory or compulsory license to determine that they meet the requirements under the statute and Copyright Office regulations, including correct computations of the filing and royalty fees. A licensing examiner will notify a licensee to correct errors or omissions on a document before final processing by the Copyright Office.


The Fiscal Section performs all accounting, budgeting, and investing functions of the division in conjunction with the Office of the Chief Financial Officer of the Library of Congress and the U.S. Treasury. This section is also responsible for the ascertainment of funds available for distribution by Copyright Royalty Judges.


The Information Section provides information about the compulsory and statutory licenses, maintains all the division’s official licensing records, and performs reference searches of licensing documents for the public and members of Congress.