Copyright Modernization

What is Modernization?

Modernization is the Copyright Office-wide initiative to (1) build a new enterprise copyright system featuring a user-centered and flexible design, (2) streamline processes and policies, (3) improve access, and (4) reimagine the entire Office.

Click here for more information about our modernization process.


What We're Working On

The U.S. Copyright Office has the largest collection of copyright records in the world. Members of the public seek out these records to find copyright owners and to get copies of completed and in-process registration records, recordation documents, and registration deposits. Because many of these records pertain to works under copyright protection, it is vital that the Office provide accurate and timely data. The Office is undertaking a holistic review of all of its public records and how to best provide access to those records.

The Office is in the process of transforming its historical records. We are converting the extensive, paper-based pre-1978 entries into digital format for improved public access, enhanced online search capabilities, and continued record preservation. As part of these overall efforts, the Office has launched a proof of concept Virtual Card Catalog that provides public access to images of the entire Copyright Card Catalog from 1870 through 1977. Additionally, the Office is working towards publishing as many additional historical records online as possible (including record books), which currently are physically housed in the Copyright Records Public Reading Room.

Additionally, the Office is transferring many of its records from legacy systems and making them more interactive and available. The Office is defining the new data elements and structure, which is intertwined with other modernization efforts such as the Enterprise Copyright System.

The Copyright Office handles a number of copyright matters, from registration to recordation to licensing activities and more. To improve these services, the Office will modernize processes and technologies by introducing a new, web-based, cloud-hosted Enterprise Copyright System (ECS). ECS will provide a more user-friendly platform for the public to file applications and transfers of ownership, will include improved functionality to allow better information flow between the Office and the public, and will be flexible enough to allow the Office to continue to update its technology to take advantage of future advancements.

The Copyright Office engages and informs the public, industries that rely on our services, and staff. Many modernization activities require outreach to a broad set of stakeholders, customers, and their extended support communities. Through this targeted outreach, the Office aims to increase both user participation and feedback. As this continues, the Office will gain additional awareness of what users want, using the findings to create the ECS.

Currently, modernization outreach is focusing on gathering feedback for the user interface for the registration submission process. In the near future, we will also engage the public regarding recordation functionality and user interface. Next year, we intend to perform outreach for other items, so stay tuned! If you want to provide feedback or be involved with our outreach efforts, please contact the Copyright Modernization Office at [email protected].

The Copyright Office is starting a business process reengineering (BPR) effort. BPR is the process by which the Office identifies and reviews business processes and staff responsibilities and subsequently recommends new work steps and processes to reduce operational costs and improve efficiencies. BPR will be conducted by a team of vendors and staff members who will collaboratively redesign core business processes.

The Copyright Office is developing a data management plan that will serve all in the copyright community (from creators to users and the public at large), allowing them to reap additional benefits from Office data and information that will be authoritative, easily found, well described, high quality, secured, and managed across the entire enterprise.

This will involve the creation of policies, practices, and data architectures to break down complex processes into component parts, analyze them, and then find the best way to integrate them. Additionally, the Office has created a data model, data dictionary, and source to target mapping.