Title 37: Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
Part 203—FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT: POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Subchapter A—Copyright Office and Procedures
(a) In general. The Office will respond to all properly addressed emailed and mailed requests and all personally delivered written requests for records within 20 working days of receipt. The Office ordinarily will respond to requests according to their order of receipt. In instances involving a misdirected request rerouted to the Office, the response time will commence on the date that the request is received by the Office, but in any event not later than 10 working days after the request is first received by the Library of Congress.
(b) Multitrack processing. The Office will designate a specific track for requests that are granted expedited processing, in accordance with the standards set forth in paragraph (e) of this section. The Office may also designate additional processing tracks that distinguish between simple and more complex requests based on the estimated amount of work or time needed to process the request. Among the factors the Office may consider are the number of records requested, the number of pages involved in processing the request, and the need for consultations or referrals. The Office will advise a requester of the track into which their request falls and, when appropriate, will offer the requester an opportunity to narrow or modify their request so that it can be placed in a different processing track.
(c) Unusual circumstances.
(i) Whenever the Office cannot meet the statutory time limit for processing a request because of “unusual circumstances,” as defined in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, the Office will notify the requester in writing of the unusual circumstances and the estimated date of determination. Where an extension of time greater than 10 days is required, the Office will give the requester the opportunity to:
(A) Limit the scope of the request so that it may be processed within 20 working days; or
(B) Arrange with the Office an alternative time frame for processing the request or a modified request.
(ii) The Office will make available the FOIA Public Liaison to assist the requester in modifying the request.
(2) As used in this paragraph (c), “unusual circumstances” means, only to the extent reasonably necessary to the proper processing of the particular request:
(i) The need to search for and collect the requested records from establishments that are physically separate from the Office;
(ii) The need to search for, collect, and examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request; or,
(iii) The need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the request or among two or more components of the Copyright Office which have a substantial subject matter interest therein.
(d) Aggregating requests. To satisfy unusual circumstances under the FOIA, the Office may aggregate requests in cases where it reasonably appears that multiple requests, submitted either by a requester or by a group of requesters acting in concert, constitute a single request that would otherwise involve unusual circumstances. The Office will not aggregate multiple requests that involve unrelated matters.
(e) Expedited processing.
(1) The Office will process requests and appeals on an expedited basis whenever it is determined that the request or appeal involves:
(i) Circumstances in which the lack of expedited processing could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; or,
(ii) An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged Federal Government activity, if the request or appeal is made by a person who is primarily engaged in disseminating information.
(2) A request for expedited processing may be made at any time. Requests for expedited processing of initial requests should be made to the FOIA Requester Service Center. Requests for expedited processing of an administrative appeal should be submitted to the Office of the Register of Copyrights.
(3) A requester who seeks expedited processing must submit a statement, certified to be true and correct, setting forth the basis for the claim that a “compelling need” exists for the requested information.
(4) The Office will notify the requester within 10 calendar days of the receipt of a request for expedited processing of its decision whether to grant or deny expedited processing. If expedited processing is granted, the request will be given priority and processed as soon as is practicable. If a request for expedited processing is denied, the requester may submit an appeal to the Office of the Register of Copyrights. The Office will act expeditiously on any appeal of a denial of expedited processing.
[82 FR 9508, Feb. 7, 2017]