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Archived updates for Tuesday, March 28, 2006

USCO Proposes Fee Increases

The U.S. Copyright Office of the Library of Congress has proposed new fees for various services in order to recover a significant part of the costs of those services and provide full cost recovery for many services which benefit only or primarily the user of that service. Comments must be made in writing by April 27, 2006.

In fiscal year 2005, the Copyright Office collected $23,788,227 in fees, sufficient to offset only 56.7% of the total expenditures of the Office, whereas in 2002, fees covered just over 66% of the Office's costs for providing its services. The proposed discretionary fees have therefore been adjusted to more-closely reflect the current cost of providing various services. For example, search fees will jump from $65 to $125 per hour, fees for recordation of license agreements will increase from $50 to $125, and fees for location of Copyright Office records will increase from $80-$100 to $150 per hour.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking also provides further clarification for the following fee changes:
  1. Registration of GATT Group. The Copyright Office has decided to eliminate the option of registering up to ten related, restored works published within the same calendar year as a GATT/Group. This service is seldom used and it is costly to the Office. Consequently, GATT/Group has been listed as discontinued. However, works that would have been filed under this provision can still be registered, although each work must be registered individually.
  2. Recordation of Notices of Intent to Enforce (NIE's). With the enactment of section 104A of the copyright law in 1993, the Copyright Office was given the responsibility of recording documents known as Notices of Intent to Enforce copyrights restored under the Uruguay Round Agreements Act. Because the term of eligibility for filing NIE's has concluded for most countries, this is now a seldom used service. The Copyright Office has decided to apply the same fees to NIE's as are applicable to other recorded documents.
  3. Search estimate by the Reference & Bibliography Section. Currently, the Reference & Bibliography Section provides a free written estimate of the number of hours which will likely be needed to complete a search and report and an estimate of the fee to conduct this search. But in order to arrive at the estimate, the Reference and Bibliography Section actually performs a major part of the search; and if the client requesting the estimate decides not to order the search, the Office receives no fee to cover its cost of providing the estimate. Consequently, the Office will no longer provide free estimates under the new fee schedule. Instead, as with other services that are primarily for the benefit of the user, the Copyright Office is setting the fee at a level to recover its cost for the service provided. The fee to prepare a written estimate will now be $100. If the client requests that the search and report be undertaken, the $100 fee will be applied to the total fee charged.
  4. Handling fee for extra deposit copy for certification. For claimants who wish to obtain certified copies of their deposits after issuance of the certificate of registration, the Copyright Office will accept an extra deposit copy to be certified upon registration of the claim. The current fee for this service is the same as the fee for the basic registration and it has been adjusted under the new schedule to the same level as the basic registration fee.
  5. Expedited Reference & Bibliography Search and Report. The Copyright Office is adopting an hourly fee for providing a written search report based on an expedited search of the Copyright Office records. This fee replaces the current hourly fee and surcharge now used to cover the costs of these services. The new single fee covers both the search and the written report and has been calculated to maintain full cost recovery.
  6. Copying fees. Current fees do not recover the costs of providing copies of Copyright Office records or copies of deposits, often exceeding by approximately 50% the amount of fees received by the Office for these services. To eliminate this shortfall, the new fees for various forms of reproductions have been increased by up to 50% and, in the case of photocopying documents, a minimum fee of $6.00 has been added to cover the administrative costs of handling these requests. Moreover, the Office has decided to harmonize the fees for photocopying throughout the Office.
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