Copyright Office Releases New Version of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition

Acting Register Karyn A. Temple has released an updated version of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition (the Compendium). This version is available on the Office’s website at

The Compendium is the technical manual for the Office’s staff, as well as a guidebook for authors, copyright licensees, practitioners, scholars, the courts, and members of the general public. It addresses fundamental principles of copyright law, routine questions about accessing the Office’s public services, and the policies and procedures the Office uses in the course of conducting business.

This update is the result of a comprehensive review of the Office’s practices and procedures. Revisions to the registration chapters clarify how and when the Office communicates with applicants and, how it handles duplicate claims, deposit requirements and claims involving multiple works, among other improvements. It also provides preliminary guidance for claims involving useful articles based on the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands. Revisions to the recordation chapter intended to set forth additional guidance for recording notices of termination, as well as information on the Office’s new electronic system for the designation of agents. The revisions address changes in post-registration procedures, including the “mailbox rule” for requests for reconsideration, and new procedures for removing personally identifiable information. The update also incorporates changes made by the recent technical amendments to the Office’s regulations.

This version of the Compendium was initially released in draft form on June 1, 2017. The Office received comments on the draft from the Copyright Alliance; the Intellectual Property Owners Association; the Kernochan Center for Law, Media, and the Arts at Columbia Law School; as well as four individuals. After carefully reviewing these comments, the Office revised twenty-one sections of the Compendium. For information concerning these revisions, read more.

The Office also added information about its recent final rules on supplementary registration and the group registration option for contributions to periodicals (“GRCP”). The Office revised Chapter 1700 to reflect its new practice for amending a claim during the course of a request for reconsideration. In addition, the Office decided to maintain its existing practice (described in Chapters 600 and 1500 of the 2014 version of Compendium) for assigning an effective date of registration in cases where an applicant belatedly submits the correct number of copies or phonorecords required for registration. For a complete list of all sections that have been added, amended, revised, or removed in this update, read more.

Please note: This version of the Compendium has been reformatted to improve readability for online and offline users. As a result, pagination and length are affected. This update also includes improved hyperlinks to provide readers with direct access to the statute, regulations, and resources on the Office’s website, as well as improved cross-references between chapters.