(a) General. This section prescribes rules pertaining to the verification of information contained in the Statements of Account by interested copyright parties pursuant to section 1003(c) of title 17 of the United States Code.
(b) Definitions -
(1) Annual Statement of Account, generally accepted auditing standards (GAAS), and primary auditor have the same meaning as the definition in § 201.28 of this part.
(2) Filer is a manufacturer or importer of digital devices or media who is required by 17 U.S.C. 1003 to file with the Copyright Office Quarterly and Annual Statements of Account and a primary auditor's report on the Annual Statement of Account.
(3) Interested copyright party has the same meaning as the definition in § 201.29 of this part.
(4) Verifying auditor is the person retained by interested copyright parties to perform a verification procedure. He or she is independent and qualified as defined in paragraphs (j)(2) and (j)(3) of this section.
(5) Verification procedure is the process followed by the verifying auditor to verify the information reported on an Annual Statement of Account.
(c) Purpose of verification. The purpose of verification is to determine whether there was any failure of the primary auditor to conduct the primary audit properly or to obtain a reliable result, or whether there was any error in the Annual Statement of Account.
(d) Timing of verification procedure -
(1) Requesting a verification procedure. No sooner than three months nor later than three years after the filing deadline of the Annual Statement of Account to be verified, any interested copyright party shall notify the Register of Copyrights of its interest in instituting a verification procedure. Such notification of interest shall also be served at the same time on the filer and the primary auditor identified in the Annual Statement of Account. Such notification shall include the year of the Annual Statement of Account to be verified, the name of the filer, information on how other interested copyright parties may contact the party interested in the verification including name, address, telephone number, facsimile number and electronic mail address, if any, and a statement establishing the party filing the notification as an interested copyright party. The notification of interest may apply to more than one Annual Statement of Account and more than one filer.
(2) Coordination and selection of verifying auditor. The Copyright Office will publish in the Federal Register notice of having received a notification of interest to institute a verification procedure. Interested copyright parties have one month from the date of publication of the Federal Register notice to notify the party interested in instituting the verification procedure of their intent to join with it and to participate in the selection of the verifying auditor. Any dispute about the selection of the verifying auditor shall be resolved by the parties themselves.
(3) Notification of the filer and primary auditor. As soon as the verifying auditor has been selected, and in no case later than two months after the publication in the Federal Register of the notice described in paragraph (d)(2) of this section, the joint interested copyright parties shall notify the Register of Copyrights, the filer, and the primary auditor identified in the Annual Statement of Account to be verified, that they intend or do not intend to initiate a verification procedure.
(4) Commencement of the verification procedure. The verification procedure shall begin no sooner than one month after notice of intent to initiate a verification procedure was given to the filer and the primary auditor by the joint interested copyright parties. The joint interested copyright parties shall grant the filer or the primary auditor a postponement of the beginning of the verification procedure of up to one additional month if either one requests it. Verification procedures shall be conducted at reasonable times during normal business hours.
(5) Anti-duplication rules. A filer shall be subject to no more than one verification procedure per calendar year. An Annual Statement of Account shall be subject to a verification procedure only once.
(e) Scope of verification. The verifying auditor shall limit his or her examination to verifying the information required in the Annual Statement of Account. To the extent possible, the verifying auditor shall inspect the information contained in the primary auditor's report and the primary auditor's working papers. If the verifying auditor believes that access to the records, files, or other materials in the control of the filer is required according to GAAS, he or she may, after consultation with the primary auditor, require the production of these documents as well. The verifying auditor and the primary auditor shall act in good faith using reasonable professional judgment, with the intention of reaching a reasonable accommodation as to the necessity and scope of examination of any additional documents, but the decision to require the production of additional documents is solely that of the verifying auditor.
(f) Verification report. Upon concluding the verification procedure, the verifying auditor shall render a report enumerating in reasonable detail the procedures performed by the verifying auditor and his or her findings. Such findings shall state whether there was any failure of the primary auditor to conduct properly the primary audit or obtain a reliable result, and whether there was any error in the Annual Statement of Account, itemized by amount and by the filer's elected fiscal year. If there was such failure or error, the report shall specify all evidence from which the verifying auditor reached such conclusions. Such evidence shall be listed and identified in an appendix to the report in sufficient detail to enable a third party to reasonably understand or interpret the evidence on which the verifying auditor based his or her conclusion. If there was no such failure or error, the report shall so state.
(g) Distribution of report. Copies of the verifying auditor's report shall be subject to the confidentiality provisions of § 201.29 and shall be distributed as follows:
(1) One copy, excluding the appendix, if applicable, shall be filed with the Register of Copyrights.
(2) One copy, with the appendix, if applicable, shall be submitted to each of the interested copyright parties who retained the services of the verifying auditor and who are authorized to receive such information according to § 201.29.
(3) One copy, with the appendix, if applicable, shall be submitted to the filer of the Annual Statement of Account.
(4) One copy, with the appendix, if applicable, shall be submitted to the primary auditor.
(h) Retention of report. The Register of Copyrights will retain his or her copy of the verifying auditor's report for three years following the date the copy of the verifying auditor's report is filed.
(i) Costs of verification. The joint interested copyright parties who requested the verification procedure shall pay the fees of the verifying auditor and the primary auditor for their work performed in connection with the verification procedure, except, if the verification procedure results in a judicial determination or the filer's agreement that royalty payments were understated on the Annual Statement of Account, then,
(1) if the amount is less than five percent (5%) of the amount stated on the Annual Statement of Account, that amount shall first be used to pay the fees of the verifying auditor and the primary auditor, and any remaining amount plus any applicable interest on the total amount shall be deposited, allocated by the filer's elected fiscal year, with the Register of Copyrights, or
(2) if the amount is equal to or greater than five percent (5%) of the amount stated on the Annual Statement of Account, the filer shall pay the fees of the verifying auditor and the primary auditor, and, in addition, shall deposit the amount found to be due plus any applicable interest on the total amount, allocated by the filer's elected fiscal year, with the Register of Copyrights.
(j) Independence and qualifications of verifying auditor.
(1) The verifying auditor shall be qualified and independent as defined in this section. If the filer has reason to believe that the verifying auditor is not qualified or independent, it shall raise the matter with the joint interested copyright parties before the commencement of the verification procedure, and if the matter is not resolved, it may raise the issue with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' Professional Ethics Division and/or the verifying auditor's State Board of Accountancy while the verification procedure is being performed.
(2) A verifying auditor shall be considered qualified if he or she is a certified public accountant or works under the supervision of a certified public accounting firm.
(3) A verifying auditor shall be considered independent if:
(i) He or she is independent as that term is used in the Code of Professional Conduct of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, including the Principles, Rules and Interpretations of such Code applicable generally to attest engagements (collectively, the “AICPA Code”); and
(ii) He or she is independent as that term is used in the Statements on Auditing Standards promulgated by the Auditing Standards Board of the AICPA and Interpretations thereof issued by the Auditing Standards Division of the AICPA.
[61 FR 30813, June 18, 1996]