Open book with pencil

Academic Partnerships

The Copyright Office collaborates with law professors and law students on specific copyright-related research and writing projects that serve the existing needs of the Office. Such projects may involve an individual or a small group of students. These unique academic experiences are carefully selected and structured and are typically undertaken or supervised by a faculty member working in conjunction with the Office.

The Office invites law school faculty knowledgeable in copyright law and interested in pursuing such a project to contact the Copyright Office at [email protected] or 202-707-8350 to obtain further information.

Copyright staff having discussion

Past and current partnerships include:

Law students in the Arts & Entertainment Advocacy Clinic at the Antonin Scalia Law School have participated in several projects with the U.S. Copyright Office. In 2015, students worked under the expert guidance of the Copyright Office’s Public Information and Education staff to learn more about public inquiries received by the agency, including questions on registration and recordation. In 2016, students surveyed international approaches to copyright issues such as registration and recordation. In a separate project, students examined how changes in the marketplace regarding distribution technology and other permissions may affect authors’ moral rights; they supported the April 2016 symposium on moral rights in the United States, co-sponsored by USCO and the GMU School of Law and its Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property. Working under Professor Sandra Aistars, GMU’s law students in 2017 completed a project studying registration matters.

In the 2013–2014 academic year, Stanford Law School students, working under the guidance of Professors Paul Goldstein and Luciana Herman, studied issues relating to the Office’s recordation function and produced a highly informative report concerning how that function might be transformed in the future. The report served as the basis for written proposals submitted by the Stanford team as part of the Office’s public proceeding to consider the reengineering of its recordation system, as well as a student representative’s participation in a related hearing conducted by the Office. During the 2014–2015 academic year, the Office continued its partnership with Stanford Law School, focusing on a project that assembled information concerning marketplace resources for the licensing of photographs and the data standards relied upon by copyright owners and licensees to engage in such transactions.

In 2014, Professors Robert Brauneis* of the George Washington University Law School, Dotan Oliar of the University of Virginia School of Law, and their law students completed work on the release of a dataset based on the Copyright Office Electronic Catalog. The unofficial dataset focused on “original valid monograph registrations” from 1978 to 2014 and included selected information from over 15 million records. Professors Brauneis and Oliar later published an initial report on race, gender, and age in copyright registrations in 2016, and using the unofficial data set, they conducted and published further empirical research on copyright registrant demographics in 2018.

*Professor Robert Brauneis served as a Copyright Office Abraham L. Kaminstein Scholar in Residence from 2013 to 2014