Annual Report 2002: Regulations
The Register of Copyrights is authorized, under 17 U.S.C. §702, to establish regulations for the administration of
the copyright law. In addition to regulatory activities discussed elsewhere in this report, regulations issued during
fy 2002 included the following:
Cost of Living Adjustment for Performance of Musical Compositions by Colleges and Universities
To reflect the change in the Consumer Price Index, the Copyright Office each year adjusts the rates for the public performance, by public broadcasting entities licensed to colleges and universities, of musical compositions in the repertories of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP); the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC); and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). On November 30, 2001, the Office published the new rates, adjusting for a 2.1 percent cost of living increase. The revised rates went into effect on January 1, 2002.
Copyright Restoration of Works in Accordance with the Uruguay Round Agreements Act
In Alameda Films, S.A. v. H. Jackson Shirley II, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas ordered Authors Rights Restoration Corporation (ARRC) to retract notices of intention to enforce (NIEs) certain restored copyrights filed under 17 U.S.C. §104A. The court held that ARRC improperly filed NIEs as the copyright owner of 81 Mexican motion pictures. The Office does not have cancellation procedures for NIEs, but, where applicable, filers may correct errors recorded in the Office’s public record of NIEs. A major NIE correction of this type, however, was untimely and could not be made for Mexican works, because the NIE filing eligibility for works from that country had expired.
As an appropriate measure in this unique circumstance, on December 3, 2001, the Office issued public notice of the District Court Order regarding the 81 films and the ARRC’s response to the order.
Mechanical and Digital Phonorecord Delivery Compulsory License
On March 9, 2001, the Office published a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) requesting comments regarding the interpretation and application of section 115 to musical works that are part of certain kinds of digital transmissions, namely, on demand streams and limited downloads. Specifically, the notice sought information for the purpose of defining an incidental phonorecord delivery. While considering the comments and replies to the NOI, the Recording Industry of America, Inc. (RIAA), the National Music Publishers’ Association, Inc. (NMPA), and the Harry Fox Agency, Inc. (HFA), submitted a joint statement to the Copyright Office on December 6, 2001, advising the Office of certain developments relevant to the Copyright Office’s March 9 NOI. In order to assess fully the relevance of the subsequent filing, the Copyright Office issued a second notice on December 14, 2001, in which it requested additional public comment on its March 9 NOI in light of the RIAA/NMPA/HFA agreement filed in this proceeding. The Office continues to consider the comments filed in this proceeding.
Notice and Recordkeeping for Use of Sound Recordings Under Statutory License
On February 7, 2002, the Copyright Office initiated a rulemaking proceeding to determine the requirements for giving copyright owners reasonable notice of the use of their works under the section 112 and 114 statutory licenses and for how records of such use shall be kept and made available to copyright owners. Because of the widely disparate viewpoints of the commenting parties and the complexity of the issues, the Copyright Office held a public roundtable on May 10, 2002, to elicit more specific information regarding the adoption of such a regulation. The Office made a third and final request for written proposals regarding data format and delivery on September 23, 2002. The Copyright Office hopes to announce interim notice and recordkeeping regulations to establish transitional reporting requirements for services making digital transmissions of sound recordings under the section 112 and 114 licenses during the first half of the next fiscal year.
Registration of Claims to Copyright: Group Registration of Contributions to Periodicals
On March 7, 2002, the Copyright Office published a final rule adopting an existing practice that expands the number of acceptable formats for a deposit accompanying a single application to register groups of contributions to periodicals. Section 408(c)(2) of title 17, United States Code, authorizes the Register of Copyrights to establish a procedure permitting a single registration for groups of contributions to periodicals published by the same author within a twelve-month period. Expanding the number of acceptable formats reduces hardships to applicants and simplifies administrative processing.
Fees for Copyright Office Services
The Copyright Office may propose a change in fees to Congress. The Register must conduct a study of costs incurred in providing services. When the Register determines that fees should be adjusted, the Register prepares and submits to Congress a proposed fee schedule along with the cost study. If Congress does not enact legislation within 120 days to disapprove the proposed schedule, the Copyright Office may institute the changed fees by regulation. An adjusted fee schedule was submitted to Congress in February 2002 and became effective on July 1, 2002. The basic fee for registration of an original work of authorship was not affected. However, the fees for a supplementary or renewal registration, document recordation, registration of an original vessel hull design, search and preparation of a report from Copyright Office records, and recordation of a designated online service provider agent were increased to cover more of the costs incurred in providing these services. The Office eliminated the fee for inspection of Office records and also reduced the minimum cost for the first 15 pages of photocopying. Other statutory fees remained the same.
[Docket numbers and dates of Federal Register documents issued during Fiscal Year 2002 are listed in an appendix of this Report.]