What is Copyright Office Modernization?
Copyright Office modernization is the initiative to reimagine the entire Office by (1) building a new enterprise IT system designed to be more flexible and easier to use, (2) modernizing supporting IT systems, and (3) further ensuring that Office practices and processes are efficient and productive.
Copyright Office modernization is the initiative to reimagine the entire Office by (1) building a new enterprise IT system designed to be more flexible and easy for users to use, (2) modernizing supporting IT systems, and (3) further ensuring that Office practices and processes are efficient and productive. A PDF version of the information on this page is available.
One of modernization’s key goals is to develop a new enterprise IT system that integrates and improves all of the Office’s technology modules, which the Copyright Office calls the Enterprise Copyright System (ECS). Specifically, the ECS will include the Office’s registration, recordation, public record, and licensing IT module, among other functions.
All modules will share the same ECS design—providing a consistent user experience. Additionally, the ECS will include central sets of capabilities that support multiple business services (for example, using the same email, payment, authentication, and event systems). Furthermore, the ECS will leverage an existing Library system to support financial management.
The Office is focused on ensuring that the ECS is easy to navigate. A user-centered and flexible design, which takes into account streamlined business processes and policies, will provide better access to the Office’s primary services.
The Office will create a user-centric, flexible, and modern module to replace the existing Electronic Copyright Office (eCO) Registration System. This will include developing both the public-facing application and deposit submission processes, as well as the internal examination functionality. Doing this work will expand and improve our services, reduce errors and the need for correspondence, and improve the user experience across all Office business units.
- Summer 2020—began development of a clickable Standard Application prototype and internal features.
- Fall 2020—preliminary internal testing of clickable Standard Application prototype.
- Winter 2020–2021—limited public prototype release 1 of a reimagined Standard Application for usability testing.
- Spring 2021—limited public prototype release 2 of a reimagined Standard Application based on results from prior testing.
- 2021—iterative development to support Standard Application and internal system development.
- 2022—began work on a prototype for Group Registration of Unpublished Works.
- 2023—development of the entry point for applicants seeking to register their work, including login, help content, and selection of type of work for all categories of authorship in the Standard Application.
- 2023—continuous development in support of internal and external examination workflows.
The Office will replace the current paper-based, manual recordation process with a modern module that enables web-based submissions and includes an updated recordation workspace for Office staff to review and validate submissions. The Recordation System will use a modular design to enable efficient growth, development, and integration with other ECS applications.
- Fall 2018 —began development of an electronic recordation submission pilot.
- April 2020—selected external users began submitting documents for recordation through the pilot.
- 2020–2021—expanded the pilot user group and incorporated user feedback in additional pilot releases.
- Fall 2021—received 30 percent of all recorded documents submitted to the office in FY 2021 through the recordation pilot.
- Summer 2022—expanded pilot participation for online submission of section 205 documents to the full public.
- Fall 2022—received 52 percent of all recorded documents submitted to the office in FY 2022 through the Recordation System.
Copyright Public Records System (CPRS)
The Office is replacing the existing online public catalog with a significantly enhanced new module. The new module, currently in pilot, provides access to registration and recordation data with enhanced search capabilities, filters, and improved interfaces for public users and Office staff.
- Fall 2019—began development of a new Copyright Public Record System.
- Winter 2020—launched Copyright Public Record System pilot, allowing users to search, filter, and email public catalog records.
- Summer 2021—included the ability to view recent records, recent searches, and download record details.
- Spring 2022—added a Name Directory and hyperlinked related registration records.
- Summer 2022—included additional registration hyperlinks and added a pop-up survey to gather feedback.
Service Request Processing
The Office is creating a portal through which copyright customers will submit—and Copyright Office staff will process—requests for research services and copies of records. The module will include the ability to review, assign, and track progress on requests; estimate fees; submit fees; and integrate with Pay.gov.
- Fall 2022—began development of the Service Request Processing Portal.
The Office is creating a new IT module to improve its administration of the section 111 statutory license relating to cable operators’ royalty payments to copyright owners for retransmission of over-the-air television and radio broadcast stations to subscribers. It is also considering functionality to process other types of filings, including those relating to satellite and DART royalty payments. Current goals for the system include prioritizing value-driven improvements that streamline internal processes, reducing manual entry, and leveraging existing data, systems, and services.
- Fall 2020—began development of user experience design and initial automated workflow.
- 2021—developed iterative internal workflows.
- 2022—developed section 111 Statement of Account ingestion and examiner viewing capabilities, integrated with Pay.gov, and started the process for migrating the Copyright Office’s fiduciary operations to the Legislative Branch Financial Management System (LBFMS).
- Fall 2022—released the portions of the licensing product for internal testing.
- Fall 2023—develop and deliver ECS Licensing module features that include automated solutions for collection and reporting of royalty fees and SOA payments.
- Fall 2023—continue migration of the Statement of Account examination processes and automate royalty accounting processes within the Library’s Financial Management System.
The Office is also modernizing additional IT services, such as updating our Public Information Office (PIO) capabilities, improving the tracking of physical deposits submitted through registration, and leveraging business intelligence capabilities. Each service will integrate with the ECS.
Business Intelligence (BI)
Business intelligence is a capability that allows the Office to see, manipulate, and exploit the data that applications are generating. Internal use of the BI tool supports improved dashboards and reporting from a common, trusted data repository that enables various Copyright Office divisions in their decision-making and service analyses.
The Office provides support to the public, answering public inquiries on copyright and Office services. In 2021, the Office engaged experts from the GSA Centers of Excellence to conduct a gap analysis and facilitate continuous development roadmap planning. In 2022, the Office awarded a contract to modernize its Customer Contact Center. The anticipated modernized solution will focus on improved analytics and streamlined responses, including a high-performing, high-quality, multi-channel customer contact center to support the copyright community and improve communications between the Office and the public.
The Office moved into a new state-of-the-art environmentally controlled storage facility at the end of 2020. This new facility is critical to the mission objective to provide Copyright Office services, ensure prompt availability of new copyright records, and better track individual items.
In 2021, the Office began planning an automated Warehouse Management System (WMS) to support the warehouse operation.
As part of our commitment to the preservation of and access to all public records, the Office has undertaken efforts to digitize print and microfilm records to make them available to a broader audience. These historical public records include the copyright card catalog, record books, and the Catalogs of Copyright Entries (CCE). The long-term goal is to make these historical public records available in the new Copyright Public Records System once each collection's digitization and metadata capture are completed.
- Fall 2010—published Catalogs of Copyright Entries (CCEs).
- Winter 2018—launched the Virtual Card Catalog Proof of Concept.
- Spring 2019—updated of the Virtual Card Catalog to include more than 41 million images from 1870–1977.
- Winter 2022—issued first release of the digitized Copyright Historical Record Books Collection.
The Library of Congress convened a public committee to enhance communication and provide a public forum for the technology-related aspects of the Copyright Office’s modernization initiative. The committee is managed by the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), with support from the Copyright Office and other Library offices as necessary. The committee's goal is to expand and enhance communication with external stakeholders on IT modernization of Copyright Office systems and to provide an ongoing public forum for sharing information and answering questions related to this initiative.
≫ Copyright Public Modernization Committee Public Meeting | Library of Congress (loc.gov) (August 2023 biannual meeting)
≫ Copyright Public Modernization Committee Public Meeting | Library of Congress (loc.gov) (March 2023 biannual meeting)
≫ Copyright Public Modernization Committee: Biannual Meeting | Library of Congress (loc.gov) (July 2022 biannual meeting)
≫ Copyright Public Modernization Committee Forum | Library of Congress (loc.gov) (February 2022 biannual meeting)
≫ Copyright Public Modernization Committee Forum | Library of Congress (loc.gov) (July 2021 biannual meeting)
≫ NewsNet Issue 875 | U.S. Copyright Office
≫ NewsNet Issue 898 | U.S. Copyright Office
≫ NewsNet Issue 996 | U.S. Copyright Office
≫ NewsNet Issue 1012 | U.S. Copyright Office
≫ Library of Congress Announces Copyright Public Modernization Committee | Library of Congress (loc.gov)
≫ Library to Host Biannual Copyright Public Modernization Committee Meeting | Library of Congress (loc.gov)