New Fees Proposed For Copyright Registration

- - copyright

I received the following mass email from Stephen Best, APA National CEO and I’m sure many of you did too but it looks important enough to bring up here

The United States Copyright Office has proposed “new fees for the registration of claims, recordation of documents, special services, Licensing Division services, and processing of FOIA requests.” This includes the registration of photographs using form VA through eCO or paper filings.

The basic change for photographers would be an electronic filing that now has a fee of $35 would go to $65. A paper filing that now is $65 would go to $100. APA is concerned that increased fees will deter the registration of images by photographers because of the higher cost.

Making the registration process more expensive is not a way for the Copyright Office and the Library of Congress to fulfill its mission “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries” (U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8)

The Notice of proposed rulemaking on Copyright Fees is found here, 77 FR 18742. http://www.copyright.gov/fedreg/2012/77fr18742.pdf

The CO Office is providing an opportunity for comments before they submit the fee schedule to the US Congress for review. Comments should be submitted electronically to the Office of the General Counsel in the Copyright Office no later than May 14, 2012.

Comments are to be filed electronically and a comment form is posted on the Copyright Office Web site at http://www.copyright.gov/docs/newfees/comments/.

Let the Copyright Office know how strongly you feel. Submit comments to the US Copyright Office.

There Are 9 Comments On This Article.

  1. I used to register on a regular basis. It’s not the fees that made me stop. It’s that awful copyright registration website. It’s a headache to navigate, it’s buggy, it returns errors, it’s vague, and a real hassle to use. This is the huge barrier to registration, for me.

    Hire a design team to do the site right, and I’ll pay your registration fees. Better yet, create an API so third parties can compete for my business as official registration sites. Through competition, an amazing, simple, elegant, and easy-to-use interface could emerge.

    • good point. people would pay more if there was better technology available. api’s would be incredible for anyone building products for professional photographers.

      • Incidentally, I have made this suggestion to the copyright office through their feedback channels, on more than one occasion (usually after I have the frustrating experience of using their website). I hope I’m not the only one suggesting it. If I could batch-register new images through Lightroom (or Aperture, etc), I’d do it on a regular basis.

    • David,

      what you say makes sense 100% but you’re talking about a government agency where common sense has no place sadly.

      I think it would take Adobe and their legal staff to propose such plugins to the Copyright office but that would be amazing if it happened.

  2. I agree, an up-to-date copyright registration website that is easier to handle than an atomic submarine would make photographers register more.

    The current site also cannot handle modern browsers: Chrome and Safari cannot be used, and the ideal browser the site mentions is Netscape. Does somebody still have a copy of that on his dust laden PowerMac G3?

    Also, with a modern site, a higher detail level of registration would be possible, including titles to individual photographs. There has been a discussion about using titles for photographs on top of their file names. ASMP has posted an article that says you should not try to register titles, as the system cannot handle it. There are a few lawsuits pending, so the Copyright office, where infringers try to get away with their infringement because no individual titles had been registered at the Copyright office (because you can’t: this is the pont where the snake bites into its own tail).

    In regards to the fee, why not create a subscription based system? You pay a yearly fee, log into your account, and can upload/register once a month – or maybe on a bi-weekly basis? You wouldn’t need a paper copy of your registration but get an electronic confirmation as a pdf that you can print out. At least two back-up copies would by the Copyright office would make the system safe.

    What nobody wants to see is the current outdated software staying in place and the fees almost doubling.

    • Steve Skoll

      Robert, I use Safari for all my registrations. Just make sure to uncheck “Block Pop-up Windows” before you begin the registration process.

      You also wrote: “What nobody wants is … the fees almost doubling.”

      Robert, If you haven’t done so already, please write the CO letting them know this.
      Everyone here should write-in. If the CO doesn’t hear our concerns they will not be aware of them and cannot possibly even begin to address them. Please, write to them. Tell them that if they raise their fees it will only serve to drive yourself and many other photographers away from registering their images.

  3. The whole process is antiquated. It should be as simple as once a month/quarter/whatever creating a new registration and uploading all the photos you took. Published, unpublished; doesn’t matter… Upload, done.