Leadership and Offices
The Register of Copyrights is the Director of the U.S. Copyright Office and a recognized leader and lawyer within the U.S. government. By statute, the Register works under the general direction of the Librarian of Congress and carries out a variety of legal and policy functions that are enumerated throughout Title 17. The U.S. Copyright Office has eight main divisions, in addition to the Register’s Office, and several hundred staff. There are four Associate Registers of Copyrights and four additional division heads that report directly to the Register and help to carry out her statutory mandate. An organizational chart is available at www.copyright.gov/docs/c-711.pdf.
Register of Copyrights
Karyn A. Temple serves as the 13th Register of Copyrights and the Director of the U.S. Copyright Office. Appointed by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden on March 27, 2019, Temple leads a 400-person workforce and directs the administration of important provisions of the United States Copyright Act, Title 17. Temple is the first African American Register of Copyrights.
Prior to her appointment, Temple served in several different roles within the Copyright Office. She served as Acting Register of Copyrights from October 21, 2016 to March 26, 2019. Temple also previously served as Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs for the United States Copyright Office from January 30, 2013 to October 21, 2016. As Associate Register, she assisted the Register of Copyrights with critical policy functions of the Copyright Office, including domestic and international policy analyses, legislative support, and trade negotiations. She directed the Office of Policy and International Affairs, which represents the Copyright Office at meetings of government officials concerned with the international aspects of intellectual property protection, and she provided regular support to Congress and its committees on statutory amendments and construction. From 2011 to 2013, she served as senior counsel in the Office of Policy and International Affairs.
Before joining the Copyright Office in 2011, Temple served as senior counsel to the deputy attorney general of the United States, assisting with the formulation of U.S. Department of Justice policy on sensitive legal issues and helping to manage the department’s Task Force on Intellectual Property. She also spent several years in private practice at the Recording Industry Association of America and at the law firm Williams & Connolly, LLP. She began her legal career as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Division through its Honors Program and served as a law clerk to the Hon. Nathaniel R. Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Temple earned her JD from the Columbia University Law School, where she was a senior editor of the Columbia Law Review and Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. She earned her BA in English from the University of Michigan.
Office of the Register
The Office of the Register of Copyrights has overall responsibility for the U.S. Copyright Office and its statutory mandate, specifically: for legal interpretation of the copyright law; administering the provisions of Title 17; promulgating copyright regulations; advising Congress and other government officials on domestic and international copyright policy and other intellectual property issues; determining personnel and other resource requirements for the Office; organizing strategic and annual program planning; and preparing budget estimates for inclusion in the budget of the Library of Congress and U.S. Government.
Office of the General Counsel
The Office of the General Counsel (“OGC”) is headed by the General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights, who is an expert copyright attorney and one of four legal advisors to the Register. This Office assists the Register in carrying out critical work of the U.S. Copyright Office regarding the legal interpretation of the copyright law. The General Counsel liaisons with the Department of Justice, other federal departments, and the legal community on a wide range of copyright matters including litigation and the administration of Title 17. The General Counsel also has primary responsibility for the formulation and promulgation of regulations and the adoption of legal positions governing policy matters and the practices of the U.S. Copyright Office.
Office of Policy & International Affairs
The Office of Policy and International Affairs (“PIA”) is headed by the Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs, who is an expert copyright attorney and one of four legal advisors to the Register. This Office assists the Register with critical policy functions of the U.S. Copyright Office, including domestic and international policy analyses, legislative support, and trade negotiations. PIA represents the U.S. Copyright Office at meetings of government officials concerned with the international aspects of intellectual property protection, and provides regular support to Congress and its committees on statutory amendments and construction.
Office of Registration Policy & Practice
The Office of Registration Policy and Practice is headed by the Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Registration Policy and Practice, who is an expert copyright attorney and one of four legal advisors to the Register. This Office administers the U.S. copyright registration system and advises the Register of Copyrights on questions of registration policy and related regulations and interpretations of copyright law. This Office has three divisions: Literary, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts. It also has a number of specialized sections, for example, in the area of motion pictures. This Office executes major sections of the Compendium of Copyright Office Practices, particularly with respect to the examination of claims and related principles of law.
Office of Public Records & Repositories
The Office of Public Records and Repositories is headed by the Director, who is an expert in public administration and one of the Register’s top business advisors. This Office is responsible for carrying out major provisions of Title 17, including establishing records policies; ensuring the storage and security of copyright deposits, both analog and digital; recording licenses and transfers of copyright ownership; preserving, maintaining, and servicing copyright-related records; researching and providing certified and non-certified reproductions of copyright deposits; and maintaining the official records of the U.S. Copyright Office. Additionally, the Office engages regularly in discussions with leaders in the private and public sectors regarding issues of meta data, interoperability, data management, and open government.
Office of Public Information & Education
The Office of Public Information and Education (“PIE”) is headed by the Associate Register for Public Information and Education, who is an expert copyright attorney and one of four legal advisors to the Register. This Office informs and helps carry out the work of the Register and the U.S. Copyright Office in providing authoritative information about the copyright law to the public and establishing educational programs. The Office publishes the copyright law and other provisions of title 17; maintains a robust and accurate public website; creates and distributes a variety of circulars, information sheets, and newsletters, including NewsNet; responds to public inquiries regarding provisions of the law, explains registration policies, procedures, and other copyright-related topics upon request; plans and executes a variety of educational activities; and engages in outreach with various copyright community stakeholders.
Chief Financial Officer
The Office of the Chief Financial Officer is headed by the Chief Financial Officer ("CFO"), who advises the Register on all fiscal, acquisition, budget, and financial policy matters of the U.S. Copyright Office. The Office of the CFO supervises the Copyright Office's appropriations process, budget execution, acquisitions and procurements, fee processing, statutory royalty investments and disbursements, financial controls, and resource planning.
Copyright Modernization Office
The Copyright Modernization Office (CMO) directs and coordinates all modernization on behalf of the United States Copyright Office, including resources, communications, stakeholder engagement, and business project management.