Instructions for Requesting an Ex Parte Meeting

On August 11, 2023, the Office issued a final rule establishing regulations governing ex parte communications with the Office in rulemakings. The regulations took effect on September 11, 2023, and are available in section 205.24 of the Office’s regulations.

These regulations provide an opportunity for parties to clarify evidence or arguments made in prior written submissions, respond to assertions or requests made by other parties, or respond to questions from the Copyright Office on any of those matters.

The following information provides a summary of these regulations, including instructions for requesting an ex parte meeting with the Office and information regarding parties’ responsibilities after the meeting.

Ex parte communications are written or oral communications regarding the substance of an ongoing rulemaking between a Copyright Office employee and a member of the public that must be included in the rulemaking record.

Ex parte communications do not include the following:

  • any communication before the Office commences the rulemaking through a Federal Register document, such as a notification of inquiry or notice of proposed rulemaking;
  • nonsubstantive inquires, such as those regarding a rulemaking’s status;
  • communications made by Congress; federal departments and agencies; the Judiciary; or foreign, state, or local governments; or
  • communications required by law.

Any interested party (including parties that did not file written comments in the relevant rulemaking proceeding) may request an in-person, telephonic, virtual (for example, Zoom or Microsoft Teams), or hybrid meeting with the Office. When submitting a meeting request, the following requirements must be met:

  • 1) Requests for an ex parte meeting should be sent by email (unless email submission is not feasible) to either:
  • Assistant to the General Counsel Rhea Efthimiadis at [email protected]; or
  • the relevant Office employee listed in the “For Further Information Contact” section of the applicable rulemaking.
  • 2) The request must identify:
  • the names of all proposed attendees;
  • who the attendee is representing (for example, themselves, a group, a company, etc.); and
  • the rulemaking topic that will be discussed.

NOTE: The Office permits ex parte meetings at its discretion and, when permitted, ultimately determines the most appropriate format for each meeting (for example, in-person or virtual). In reaching its determination, the Office takes into consideration the participant’s preference. The Office normally will not grant an ex parte meeting request until after the rulemaking’s written comment period closes.

Within five business days after the meeting, all meeting attendees must:

  • email (unless email submission is not feasible) a meeting summary letter to one of the individuals identified in paragraph 1 above; and
  • include the information identified in paragraph 2 above and summarize the meeting’s discussion.

The meeting summary letter must include enough detail that a nonparticipating party would understand the substance of the meeting and the issues raised. The Office will not accept or consider meeting summary letters that merely list the subject(s) discussed or provide a one- or two-sentence description. The Office reserves the right to set a different deadline for submitting meeting summary letters.

NOTE: A single meeting summary letter may be jointly submitted by meeting attendees who represent different groups. If the groups represent conflicting viewpoints, each group must submit a separate meeting summary letter.

Noncompliant Meeting Summary Letters

  • If a meeting summary letter does not satisfy the requirements above or contains inaccuracies (for example, mischaracterizing or omitting information, missing attendees), the Office will notify the meeting attendee(s) and request a corrected meeting summary letter, which must be submitted to the Office within two business days of receiving the Office’s notification. The Office reserves the right to alter the deadline for submitting a corrected meeting summary letter.
  • If an attendee does not submit a corrected meeting summary letter, the Office may make a notation on its website (that is, the relevant rulemaking’s webpage) noting or describing the deficiency or, in its discretion, may decline to consider the noncompliant meeting summary letter as part of the rulemaking record.

All meeting summary letters will be made publicly available on the Office’s website. The Office intends to post the meeting summary letters on the relevant rulemaking’s webpage or on a page containing meeting summary letters addressing similar subjects (for example, the Office’s MMA implementation rulemakings).

Impermissible communications: This term refers to any communication not in compliance with the Office’s ex parte communications regulations. Such communications will not be considered as part of the rulemaking record, but the Office may waive this restriction in the interests of justice or fairness.

New documentary material: The Office generally will not consider or accept new documentary material outside of the rulemaking record (for example, written comments, hearings) without first granting separate written approval.

  • This restriction does not apply to the Office’s requests for such information or to nonsubstantive visual aids used during an ex parte meeting that have not been submitted as part of the rulemaking record. At the Office’s discretion, a copy of the visual aid may be included in the rulemaking record.

Deadlines to request an ex parte meeting: The Office may impose deadlines to make ex parte meeting requests, and normally, requests made after the imposed deadline will be denied.