Registration Special Handling Arrangements
Issue No. 807 - March 18, 2020

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Library of Congress buildings are currently closed to the public. The U.S. Copyright Office has implemented extended telework requirements that result in a reduced number of onsite staff. Consequently, with respect to applications for registration, the processing of paper applications and the examination of physical deposits will be delayed. The Office strongly encourages applicants to submit applications online, as the most efficient and cost-effective method of registering claims in copyright.

To minimize the effects of these temporary measures on the initiation of copyright infringement actions, the Office is adopting an interim policy for the “special handling” of applications for registration on an expedited basis. For special handling claims that are submitted electronically and for which electronic deposits are permissible under the regulations, these claims will continue to be examined within five business days by examiners that are teleworking.

For electronic applications that require the submission of physical deposits of the best edition, applicants must still send the physical deposits, but the Office will allow the applicant to additionally upload an electronic deposit of that same work. The electronic deposit must be accompanied by a declaration or similar statement certifying, under penalty of perjury, that the electronic deposit is identical in content to the physical deposit that has been sent to the U.S. Copyright Office. This will allow teleworking examiners to examine such claims within five business days.

As noted above, these measures are exceptional in nature and temporary in duration, and are projected to terminate when the Library reopens its buildings to the public.

As developments unfold, the Copyright Office will consider whether similar accommodations may be appropriate for other Office services, and will promptly provide updates through NewsNet and our website.