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Frequently Asked Questions

For more information on the Licensing Division, go to www.copyright.gov/circs/circ75.pdf

What is the basic function of the Licensing Division?

The Licensing Division collects royalty fee payments and maintains public records filed by cable operators for retransmitting television and radio broadcasts (section 111), from satellite carriers for retransmitting nonnetwork and network television broadcasts (section 119), and importers or manufacturers that distribute digital audio recording technology products (DART) (section 1003). The division deducts its full operating costs from the royalty fees and invests the balance in interest-bearing securities with the U.S. Treasury for later distribution to copyright owners by the Copyright Royalty Board.

The division also maintains public records for notices of use filed under the statutory license for making ephemeral recordings to facilitate transmission of sound recordings (section 112) and transmission of sound recordings made by digital subscription services or eligible digital nonsubscription services (section 114); notices of intention to use nondramatic musical works to make and distribute phonorecords (section 115); and licensing agreements between copyright owners and public broadcasting entities (section 118). Royalty payments are not made to the Copyright Office under any of these licenses. For more information regarding the compulsory and statutory licenses, read Circular 75, www.copyright.gov/circs/circ75.pdf.

What is the difference between a compulsory license and statutory license?

None. The terms “compulsory” and “statutory” are interchangeable. A compulsory license is one that is created by Congress and is codified in the law. It establishes the terms of use. The rates are set by the government. 

How do I search the Licensing Division database?

Click on http://licensing.copyright.gov/search/ and follow the menu options.

What is a compulsory license for making and distributing phonorecords?

The compulsory license for making and distributing phonorecords is a provision in  section 115 of the Copyright Act that establishes the terms and prescribes the process for setting rates for making and distributing phonorecords (for example, cassette tape, LP, CD, or MP3) of eligible musical works. Entities operating under the compulsory license must notify the copyright owner of the musical work within 30 days after making, and before distribution of, the phonorecords and must pay the applicable royalty fee as determined by the Copyright Royalty Board and published in the Federal Register. The Copyright Office issues regulations regarding the notification process and the process for preparing the monthly and annual statements of accounts.

 
Where can I obtain a list of songs identified in notices of intention to obtain a section 115 license?

A list of the songs identified in notices of intention to obtain a section 115 compulsory license that the Licensing Division of the Copyright Office has received since January 2010 is available at www.copyright.gov/licensing/115.pdf. The list is limited to those notices received in the Licensing Division at the time the list is updated. The list specifies song titles (as provided), name of the filing entity, and filing date. For more information about section 115, go to www.copyright.gov/circs/circ73.pdf or contact us at (202) 707-8150.

What is a notice of use of a sound recording?

Section 114 of the Copyright Act provides a statutory license for certain public performances of sound recording by means of a digital audio transmission, that is, over the Internet. Section 112(e) provides a companion statutory license for making ephemeral recordings to facilitate transmission of sound recordings licensed under section 114.

Entities operating under the sections 112 and 114 licenses must file with the Copyright Office a notice of use of a sound recording. See section 270.1 of title 37, Code of Federal Regulations. The Copyright Office provides the form for this purpose online at  www.copyright.gov/forms/form112-114nou.pdf. Notices of use filed with the Licensing Division are available in the Copyright Office Public Records Reading Room (CPRRR).  The list entitled “Notice of Use of Sound Recordings” is available on the Licensing Division’s website at www.copyright.gov/licensing/114_list.pdf.

What is the function of the Copyright Royalty Board?

The Copyright Royalty Board is comprised of three copyright royalty judges who have authority for adjusting the rates and terms of the statutory licenses and determining the distribution of royalties from the statutory license royalty pools that the Library of Congress administers. The Librarian of Congress appointed the first three judges on January 11, 2006. The judges serve staggered six-year terms. For more information on the Copyright Royalty Board, go to www.loc.gov/crb.

What are the current fees associated with the Licensing Division services?

Licensing Division fees are on the Copyright Office website at www.copyright.gov/fls/sl04l.pdf.

How do I make royalty payments to the Licensing Division?

Payments made under cable, satellite, and DART licenses must be made using an electronic fund transfer (EFT). An EFT payment provides advantages to the remitter and the Copyright Office as the agency responsible for collecting and distributing royalty fees. EFTs can be transmitted either as an Automated Clearing House (ACH) credit or a Fedwire (“wire”) transaction, depending upon how you arrange the transfer through your financial institution. Or you may use an ACH debit via the U. S. Treasury Department Financial Management Service’s web-based remittance system Pay.gov.
 
For more information on royalty payments, go to www.copyright.gov/circs/circ74/ or email us at licensingfiscal@loc.gov.

How do I view Licensing Division public records?

Copyright registration records, the card catalog, and copies of Licensing Division records are available for public inspection and copying in the Copyright Office Public Records Reading Room (CPRRR) Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., eastern time, except federal holidays. For a list of available Licensing Division public records, see www.copyright.gov/circs/circ75.pdf. Some cable statements of account records may be obtained electronically on the Copyright Office website at http://licensing.copyright.gov/search/. Photocopies of current unexamined statement of account filings are available for public viewing in the CPRRR. Microfilmed copies of examined statement of accounts from prior years are also available in the CPRRR.  
 
If you require more information or need to see examined statements of account for recent accounting periods, please contact the Information Section by phone at (202) 707-8150 or by email at licensing@loc.gov. You may also use the phone on the computer work table conveniently located near the front of the CPRRR.
 

Where is the Copyright Office Public Records Reading Room?

The Copyright Office Public Records Reading Room (CPRRR) is located in room LM–404 of the James Madison Memorial Building of the Library of Congress at 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C. 20540. The CPRRR provides registered users access to the card catalog, copyright registration records, and licensing public records.

All patrons using copyright records in public service areas are required to have reader identification cards issued by the Library. The cards are free and can be obtained by presenting a valid driver’s license, state-issued identification card, or passport at the reader registration station in room LM–140 on the first floor of the James Madison Memorial Building near the Independence Avenue entrance. The reader registration station is open8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. It is closed  on Sundays and federal holidays. Researchers must register in person at the reader registration station. The Library cannot take registrations via telephone or the Internet. Go to www.loc.gov/rr/readerregistration.html for more information.

How do I get copies of Licensing Division public records if I cannot go to the CPRRR?

The Licensing Division will search its public records and provide a report of its findings.  Please be advised that there are limitations on searches and that searches are not always conclusive. There is a $165.00 minimum fee for this service. Additional hours beyond the first hour are $165.00 per hour or fraction thereof. For further information, go to www.copyright.gov/docs/fees.html.

Copies made by staff are 50 cents per exposure with a minimum fee of $12.00. Email a request to licensing@loc.gov or phone (202) 707-8150 to speak with a staff member. For more information, go to www.copyright.gov/circs/circ22.pdf

Where can I get informational circulars and forms?

Circulars and forms are on the Licensing Division website at www.copyright.gov/forms.

How do I contact the Licensing Division?

The Licensing Division is located in the Library of Congress, James Madison Memorial Building, at 101 Independence Avenue between First and Second Streets S.E., Washington, D.C., on Capitol Hill. All mail to the division should be addressed to:
 
Library of Congress
Copyright Office–LD
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20557-6400*

*The four-digit zip code extension ensures direct delivery to the Licensing Division. Failure to use it often results in long delays.

You may also contact the Licensing Division by telephone, facsimile, or email at:

Tel: (202) 707-8150
Fax: (202) 707-0905
Email: licensing@loc.gov

Licensing Division staff members are available to answer questions between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., eastern time, Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.

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