Archive of Briefs and Legal Opinions

Supreme Court

Under the Copyright Act, the Copyright Office is responsible for advising on certain questions of copyright law. The U.S. government frequently submits briefs in civil copyright litigation, including on behalf of the Copyright Office under section 411 of the Copyright Act. The Office also answers questions of law related to Copyright Royalty Board proceedings, and reviews decisions regarding registrability of works. In addition, the Office may comment on external legal affairs, including drafts of the American Law Institute’s Restatement of Copyright. The following pages contain an archive of these documents.

Amicus Briefs

The U.S. Government sometimes participates in important copyright (and related) cases as a non-party amicus curiae (“friend of the court”). This page contains an archive of many of those briefs.

Copyright Royalty Board Questions and Review

In Copyright Royalty Board proceedings, the Register of Copyrights answers certain questions of law referred to it by the Board. The Register also reviews the Board’s final determinations for errors in law. This page contains an archive of the Register’s responses to these issues.

Filings in Response to Section 411 Notices

Section 411(a) and 411(b) of the Copyright Act each define circumstances where the Register of Copyrights must be notified of civil copyright lawsuits. In response to these notices, the Office may intervene in the case or submit a statement of interest, respectively, with respect to the issues of registrability of the copyright claim. This page contains an archive of court filings in response to section 411(a) and 411(b) notices.

Review Board Letters Online

The Copyright Office Review Board hears final administrative appeals of refusals of copyright registration. This page contains an online database of those decisions from October 1995 to present. The decisions are searchable through an index.

Restatement of Copyright—Comments Sent to the American Law Institute

The American Law Institute (ALI) is drafting a Restatement of the Law, Copyright. Several Office officials have served as Advisers to the project and have provided comments on various drafts of the Restatement as the project has progressed. This page contains links to letters sent to the ALI by officials of the Office.

Official Comments to Federal Agencies

Section 701(b) tasks the Copyright Office with providing “information and assistance” to federal agencies on national and international copyright matters. This page contains letters from the Copyright Office providing such assistance to federal agencies with their public inquiries related to copyright.