27 April 2021CopyrightAlex Baldwin

US proposes 10-day fast-track copyright registration

The US Copyright Office has proposed a new fast-tracked registration option for owners involved in disputes before the office’s new small claims board.

The rulemaking proposal (see II. Proposed Rule), released on Monday April 26, says that applicants will be able to expedite their unregistered works through the newly-established copyright claims board (CCB) in just ten days for an additional $50. General expedited copyright registration outside of the CCB costs $800.

The CCB is a voluntary board for parties to seek resolution for copyright disputes of “low economic value”.

This expediting option will be open to all claimants or counter-claimants whose works are pending before the CCB. To qualify for the expedited registration, the owner will have to have been issued a registration certificate for their works at issue, or submitted a completed registration application, deposit and required registration fees.

“Timely registration is a prerequisite to commencing copyright litigation for works of US origin in federal courts. Small claims expedited registration reflects the reality that copyright owners who find federal litigation cost-prohibitive may also have chosen not to register their smaller-value works,” the announcement said.

According to the proposal, this will be established as an interim rule and is subject to change in light of new evidence.

The office is also seeking written comments on the proposed rulemaking, with a deadline of May 26, 2021.

Making a CASE

This proposal was developed in response to the introduction of the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act in December last year.

CASE established the CCB as a small claims court-type system under the US Copyright Office for owners seeking damages under $30,000.

Copyright infringement claims, declaratory judgment claims, DMCA claims and counterclaims may be bought before the CCB by copyright holders.

Alongside this rule, the Copyright Office is also proposing an amendment to its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulations in light of the CASE Act. Only those CCB “determinations, records, and information” that are published on the office’s website and that relate to a CCB final determination are now subject to disclosure under FOIA.

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13 July 2020   The US Copyright Office has further extended the deadline for aspiring copyright owners who need to register their works electronically, by another 60 days, until September 8.
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