U.S. Copyright Office Proposes Significant Fee Increases

Wednesday, 13 June 2018 20:07

The U.S. Copyright Office (@CopyrightOffice), Library of Congress, published a "Notice of proposed rule making" in the Federal Register on May 24, 2018, in which they reported the outcome of a study conducted by Booz Allen to address cost recovery goals.

Importantly, the Office has never recovered its full costs from user fees. Instead, the Office has traditionally recovered approximately 60% of its costs through fees; the remainder is provided through appropriated dollars from the U.S. treasury. ~ Federal Register/Vol. 83, No. 101, p. 24055

The Office cannot set fees to recover all costs associated with registration, but they aim for a cost recovery percentage, based on a prior study, that is 71% for electronic claims and 66% for paper applications. The current cost recovery for single and standard applications stands at 51%.

The Proposed Fee Structure

In proposing the new fees, the Office states they are seeking to strike a balance between user affordability and the reduction of their operating deficit, i.e., the costs of processing and administration of registrations.

Overall, the Office has determined that fees should increase an average of 41% to account for inflationary increases and the expected cost of information technology modernization over the next several years. ~ Federal Register/Vol. 83, No. 101, p. 24056

Examples:

  • Electronic registration for a single, original work of authorship will move from $35 to $55.
  • Electronic group registration of published and unpublished photographs (up to 750 photographs) will go from $55 to $100.

The complete details of the cost study and new fee structure is available in the PDF version of the Federal Register: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-05-24/pdf/2018-11095.pdf

One of the more significant impacts will be felt by photographers who wish to register a group of photographs (750 max). That fee will increase from $55 to $100. an 82% hike. Although the study calculates the Office's cost of that service to be $284, the 82% increase would be a burden to photographers, some of whom can regularly shoot, at minimum, 750 photographs per month.

Your voices need to be heard!

Please study the notice in the Federal Register and the Office's Fee Study resources page to see how the registration fee increases will affect your bottom line. If it appears your operating budget will be heading toward an operating deficit, the Office needs to hear from you!

The public comment period closes July 23, 2018, 11:59pm Eastern or July 24, 2018, 03:59 UTC/GMT.
https://www.copyright.gov/rulemaking/feestudy2018/