Copyright Office Accepting Electronic Applications

Copyright Offices Announces Temporary Changes to Deposit Copy Requirements

Written by Alesha M. Dominique and Marissa B. Lewis

The United States Copyright Office has announced that it will temporarily accept electronic deposit copies to facilitate remote examination of electronic applications which ordinarily must be accompanied by physical deposits during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This measure, effective as of April 2, 2020, is optional and does not dispense with the requirement that applicants also mail “best edition” physical copies of the work to the Copyright Office.  It is intended to mitigate the effect of the temporary closure of Copyright Office buildings due to COVID-19.

For electronic applications submitted on or after April 2, 2020, applicants will have the option of uploading an electronic copy of the work via eCO (the Copyright Office’s online registration system), in addition to mailing the required physical copies to the Copyright Office together with the shipping slip generated by eCO.  Applicants who take advantage of this option must also upload a sworn declaration stating that the electronic copy of the work is identical to the required physical copies.  The Copyright Office invites applicants to use the declaration form provided here.

The Copyright Office may contact applicants who, before April 2, 2020, filed electronic applications with physical deposits to offer them the option of uploading an additional electronic copy of the work.  Applicants who are offered and agree to this option likewise must submit both an electronic deposit copy and a declaration attesting to its identical nature.  Applicants are urged not to contact the Copyright Office regarding this option and instead “wait until the registration specialist contacts them.”

Submission of an additional electronic deposit will likely impact application processing times.  Applicants who cannot, or prefer not to, submit electronic deposit copies may experience significant delays, as their applications will not be examined until the Copyright Office suspends its current work-from-home policy for registration specialists.  Regardless of processing delays, however, the effective date of registration will generally remain the date on which the Copyright Office received the complete application (including the application, fee, and physical deposits).

Notably, the Copyright Office “strongly encourages” applicants filing electronic applications for which physical deposits are not required to submit an electronic deposit copy.  The Copyright Office has made clear that these temporary changes in deposit requirements are not applicable to paper applications.

The full text of the Copyright Office’s announcement can be read here.

If you have questions or would like assistance with your copyright filings, please contact MSK.

 

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