Frequently Asked Questions
For more information on the Licensing Division, go to www.copyright.gov/circs/circ75.pdf.
What is the basic function of the Licensing Division?
The Licensing Division collects royalty fee payments and maintains public records filed by cable operators for retransmitting television and radio broadcasts (section 111), from satellite carriers for retransmitting nonnetwork and network television broadcasts (section 119), and importers or manufacturers that distribute digital audio recording technology products (DART) (section 1003). In general, the division deducts its operating costs from royalty fees collected and invests the balance in interest-bearing securities with the U. S. Treasury for later distribution to copyright owners (see Report of Receipts). The division also collects filing fees to cover part of the costs in administering the cable and satellite licenses.
Are Cable/Satellite Operators required to pay Filing Fees, per filing, for each accounting period?
Effective January 1, 2014, pursuant to the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 (STELA), which granted authority to the Copyright Office to establish fees for the filing of statements of account (SOAs) under the section 111, 119, and 122 statutory licenses, the Office now assesses filing fees for all SOAs for current, past, and future accounting periods. For details, see the Federal Register, November 29, 2013 (78 fr 71498). Please be advised that the filing fee is deducted before the royalty payment is credited; thus the omission of the appropriate filing fee will result in an underpayment of royalty fees. Please remit the royalty fee and filing fee in one EFT payment. (SOA1 filing fee: $15; SOA2 filing fee: $20; SOA 3 and Satellite SOA: $725.00).
What are the current fees associated with the Licensing Division services?
Licensing Division fees are on the Copyright Office website at www.copyright.gov/fls/sl04l.pdf.
How do I make royalty payments to the Licensing Division?
Payments made under cable, satellite, and DART licenses must be made using an electronic fund transfer (EFT). An EFT payment provides advantages to the remitter and the Copyright Office as the agency responsible for collecting and distributing royalty fees. EFTs can be transmitted either as an Automated Clearing House (ACH) credit or a Fedwire (“wire”) transaction, depending upon how you arrange the transfer through your financial institution. Or you may use an ACH debit via the U. S. Treasury Department Financial Management Service’s web-based remittance system Pay.gov.
For more information on royalty payments, go to www.copyright.gov/circs/circ74/ or email us at [email protected].
How do I contact the Licensing Division?
The Licensing Division is located in the Library of Congress, James Madison Memorial Building, at 101 Independence Avenue between First and Second Streets S.E., Washington, D.C., on Capitol Hill. All mail to the division should be addressed to:
Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20557-6400*
*The four-digit zip code extension ensures direct delivery to the Licensing Division. Failure to use it often results in long delays.
You may also contact the Licensing Division by telephone, facsimile, or email at:
Tel: (202) 707-8150
Fax: (202) 707-0905
Email: [email protected]
Licensing Division staff members are available to answer questions between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., eastern time, Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.
What is the difference between a compulsory license and statutory license?
What is a compulsory license for making and distributing phonorecords?
The compulsory license for making and distributing phonorecords is a provision in section 115 of the Copyright Act that establishes the terms and prescribes the process for setting rates for making and distributing phonorecords (for example, cassette tape, LP, CD, or MP3) of eligible musical works. Entities operating under the compulsory license must notify the copyright owner of the musical work within 30 days after making, and before distribution of, the phonorecords and must pay the applicable royalty fee as determined by the Copyright Royalty Board and published in the Federal Register. The Copyright Office issues regulations regarding the notification process and the process for preparing the monthly and annual statements of accounts.
How can I find out which songs are identified in notices of intention to obtain a compulsory license for making and distributing phonorecords under section 115 that have been filed with the Copyright Office?
Notices of intention (NOIs) filed electronically with the Licensing Division of the Copyright Office are available online at www.copyright.gov/licensing/115/noi-submissions.html. Information about paper NOIs filed with the Office can be obtained by contacting the Licensing Division at (202) 707-8150 or [email protected].
What do I do if I have received a Notice of Intention?
Typically there is nothing you need to do as the recipient of an NOI. An NOI is a notice that tells you that someone plans to use your musical composition pursuant to the Copyright Act's compulsory license, 17 USC § 115. If your name and address are currently contained in the Copyright Office's public records then you should expect to be paid royalties by the licensee for such use at a later date. For more information about the compulsory license, please see Copyright Office Circular 73, available at https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ73.pdf.
What do I do if I have received a Notice of Intention from an music agency?
Under 17 USC 115(a)(1), one of the conditions for being able to make use of the compulsory license is that “phonorecords of a nondramatic musical work have been distributed to the public in the United States under the authority of the copyright owner.” If no such distribution has taken place, then others cannot make use of your songs under the compulsory license.
It is possible that an agency (example Harry Fox, Spotify) is seeking a license for a song that has the same name as yours and you were sent the NOI by mistake or out of an abundance of caution if the agency isn’t completely sure which song with that title is the one being used. For example, a quick search of our records may yield a number of musical works by other songwriters. As to how an agency could have obtained information about your song, could possibly be due to, even if your work is unpublished, basic information about your registration, such as song titles, the name of the author, and the date of creation is still available to the public in the Office’s online catalog.
What is a notice of use of a sound recording?
Section 114 of the Copyright Act provides a statutory license for certain public performances of sound recording by means of a digital audio transmission, that is, over the Internet. Section 112(e) provides a companion statutory license for making ephemeral recordings to facilitate transmission of sound recordings licensed under section 114.
How do I search the Licensing Division database?
Click on http://licensing.copyright.gov/search/ and follow the menu options.
How do I view Licensing Division public records?
Copyright registration records, the card catalog, and copies of Licensing Division records are available for public inspection and copying in the Copyright Office Public Records Reading Room (CPRRR) Monday through Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., eastern time, except federal holidays. For a list of available Licensing Division public records, see www.copyright.gov/circs/circ75.pdf. Some cable statements of account records may be obtained electronically on the Copyright Office website at http://licensing.copyright.gov/search/. Photocopies of current unexamined statement of account filings are available for public viewing in the CPRRR. Microfilmed copies of examined statement of accounts from prior years are also available in the CPRRR.
If you require more information or need to see examined statements of account for recent accounting periods, please contact the Information Section by phone at (202) 707-8150 or by email at [email protected] You may also use the phone on the computer work table conveniently located near the front of the CPRRR.
Where is the Copyright Office Public Records Reading Room?
The Copyright Office Public Records Reading Room (CPRRR) is located in room LM–404 of the James Madison Memorial Building of the Library of Congress at 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C. 20540. The CPRRR provides registered users access to the card catalog, copyright registration records, and licensing public records.
All patrons using copyright records in public service areas are required to have reader identification cards issued by the Library. The cards are free and can be obtained by presenting a valid driver’s license, state-issued identification card, or passport at the reader registration station in room LM–140 on the first floor of the James Madison Memorial Building near the Independence Avenue entrance. The reader registration station is open8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. It is closed on Sundays and federal holidays. Researchers must register in person at the reader registration station. The Library cannot take registrations via telephone or the Internet. Go to www.loc.gov/rr/readerregistration.html for more information.
How do I get copies of Licensing Division public records if I cannot go to the CPRRR?
The Licensing Division will search its public records and provide a report of its findings. Please be advised that there are limitations on searches and that searches are not always conclusive. There is a $200.00 minimum fee for this service. Additional hours beyond the first hour are $200.00 per hour or fraction thereof. For further information, go to www.copyright.gov/docs/fees.html.
Copies made by staff are 50 cents per exposure with a minimum fee of $12.00. Email a request to [email protected] or phone (202) 707-8150 to speak with a staff member. For more information, go to www.copyright.gov/circs/circ22.pdf.
Where can I get informational circulars and forms?
Circulars and forms are on the Licensing Division website at www.copyright.gov/forms.
What is the function of the Copyright Royalty Board?
The Copyright Royalty Board is comprised of three copyright royalty judges who have authority for adjusting the rates and terms of the statutory licenses and determining the distribution of royalties from the statutory license royalty pools that the Library of Congress administers. The Librarian of Congress appointed the first three judges on January 11, 2006. The judges serve staggered six-year terms. For more information on the Copyright Royalty Board, go to www.loc.gov/crb.