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IP Alert: Copyright Office Proceeds with Implementation of Fee Increases as Scheduled

April 2, 2020

Effective March 20, 2020, the Copyright Office has increased filing fees for most of its services, including registering claims to copyright, recording documents, and searching copyright records. The Office adopted the increase in fees as part of a statutory requirement that it conduct a study to evaluate the actual cost of providing its fee-based services and its work processes.

The Office’s mandated evaluation occurs every three to five years with the intent of recovering a substantial portion of the costs to the Office for services that benefit both copyright owners and the general public. According to the proposed schedule and analysis submitted to Congress in October 2019, the Office strives to set fees “at levels that maximize the recovery of reasonable costs while continuing to encourage active participation in the copyright system,” including the production of original literary, artistic, and musical expression for the good of the public.

The most recent cost study began in June 2017 with the Office initially proposing a fee schedule in the Federal Register in May 2018. The proposed fee schedule considered both the costs to the Office in administering services and the overall objective of the copyright system. In June 2019, the Office issued a supplemental notice proposing limited revisions to the 2018 fee schedule. It then engaged in a public notice and comment process in which the public’s feedback was considered and used to refine the new fee schedule. Subsequently, in October 2019, the Office presented a final fee schedule to Congress for review and approval.

The new schedule revises current prices and maintains certain fees for other services. Examples of the price increases include the following:

  • Electronic filing for registration of a claim in an original work of authorship will increase from $55 to $65.
  • Paper filing for registration of a claim in an original work of authorship will increase from $85 to $125.
  • Registration of a claim in a group of unpublished works will increase from $55 to $85.
  • Registration of works as a group in a single application will increase from $55 to $85.
  • Registration of updates or revisions to databases predominantly consisting of non-photographic works will increase from $85 to $500 per application, a significant price jump that reflects the Office’s extensive examination of lengthy submissions.

The Office has also introduced new services, including full-term retention of a published electronic copyright deposit for a fee of $220 and voluntary cancellation of a registration for $150. A complete listing of fees for copyright registration, recordation, and other services can be found here.

For more information, please contact Fitch Even attorney Kerianne A. Strachan, author of this alert.

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