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
Maria Strong is the Acting Register of Copyrights and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office. She was appointed to the position effective January 5, 2020. Strong leads a 400-person workforce and directs the administration of important provisions of the United States Copyright Act, Title 17.
Strong also serves as Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs, directing a team that focusses on domestic and international policy analyses, legislative support, and trade negotiations. The Office of Policy and International Affairs represents the Copyright Office at meetings of government officials concerned with the international aspects of copyright protection and enforcement, and provides regular support to Congress and its committees.
Prior to her April 2019 appointment as director of PIA, Strong served as its deputy director since January 2015. Upon joining the Copyright Office in 2010, she served as senior counsel for policy and international affairs and also served as acting general counsel from April to July 2013. Before joining the Office, Strong spent nineteen years in private practice in Washington, DC, where she represented clients in the media, technology, and entertainment sectors and provided analyses and advocacy on global and domestic issues involving copyright law, enforcement, trade policy, and e-commerce. She began her legal career as a staff attorney at the Federal Communications Commission.
Strong earned her JD from George Washington University Law School, her MA in communications management from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications, and her BA in communication studies from UCLA.
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.
Chief of Operations
The Office of the Chief of Operations is headed by the Chief of Operations (“COO”), who advises the Register on core business functions and coordinates and directs the day-to-day operations of the U.S. Copyright Office. The Office of the COO supervises human capital, mandatory deposits and acquisitions, and strategic planning functions. This Office interacts with every other senior management office that reports to the Register and frequently coordinates and assesses institutional projects. The COO chairs the U.S. Copyright Office’s operations committee.