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What You Need to Know About US Copyright Office

Copyright Office

The US Copyright Office is where all records regarding copyright ownership are held and made available to the public. A copyright on an original work gives the creator of that work the right to any benefits that arise from being the creator, whether it be financial or for respect and reputation.

The Copyright Office makes paperwork available to the public for a fee and the filing of necessary paperwork will certify that a work is registered and copyrighted. The US Copyright Office has the right to publish any information regarding a copyrighted work including who created it, when it was created and what purpose it serves. Paperwork can be filed to renew a copyright. The Copyright Office also has the right to deny any work of being copyrighted if they feel just.

The Copyright Office consults with the United States Congress on legal and financial matters. The Copyright Office, in conjunction with Congress, looks for ways to best serve the public and create new ideas, creativity and productivity. All copyrighted works and works that are not copyrighted but submitted to the US Copyright Office become the property of the Library of Congress and the Library may hold onto the copyrighted work as long as desired. Even though the work is physically in the possession of the Copyright Office, the copyright belongs to the creator of the work. If you need legal advice and assistance, contact copyright lawyers.

The Copyright Office is a part of the Library of Congress in the United States Government. The Register of Copyrights is the head of the Copyright Office. The first Head Registry was Thorvald Solberg in 1870. Currently, Marybeth Peters is the head of Copyright Registry and has been since 1994. All material deposited to the Copyright Office is stored in the James Madison Memorial Building of the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

The mission of the US Copyright Office is to promote new ideas and functions through creativity by the United States public. The Copyright Office looks to ensure all those that create an original work receive the proper credit for creating such a work. Since the Library began storing copyrighted material in 1870, there have been over 126 million original works stored in the Library of Congress. The original works include books, computer programs, artwork, sound recordings, and any other creations issued a copyright.

The Register of Copyrights handles the Copyright Office's responsibilities and organization. Employees of the Copyright Office are appointed by the Library of Congress and serve under the direct supervision on the United States Congress. Copyright Office employees are expected to communicate with international representatives to determine copyright rules and regulations that can be agreed upon internationally.

Information can travel so quickly in this age, and thus, copyright protection needs to extend beyond the United States. Uniform rules are the best way to insure creators receive proper credit for their work. The Copyright Office advises Congress on what changes should be made to current copyright law.

The Copyright Office is also responsible for conducting studies to determine how effective the Office is running. Any changes to the function or organization of the Office must be submitted to and approved by Congress. All accomplishments and details of other work completed must be submitted to Congress each fiscal year.

All works deposited into the Copyright Office, such as phonorecords, literary works, identifying material, and other material, becomes the property of the United States Government. If a work is refused registration into the Copyright Office it still may be retained for a certain amount of time. Works that are published and copyrighted will be sent to the Library of Congress. where they will remain.

Unpublished works deposited to the Register of Copyrights are available to be sent to any collection deposits or for transfer to the National Archives of the United States or to a Federal records center. They may also be discarded.

The Register of Copyrights has the right to create an exact replica of any work submitted to it. Once the replica is made, it can either be stored permanently in the Library of Congress or discarded. Works that are discarded or destroyed will first remain in a depository for statistical and informational purposes until they are ready to be discarded or destroyed.

Copyright Office Forms

Copyright Office fees are paid directly to the Register of Copyrights. Forms that require a fee are any forms pertaining to registration, registration for a copyright, classification of copyright forms, corrections or adjustments to the copyrighted work, first time publishing, rules and regulations for a copyrighted work, and requests to file an untimely application to claim an infringement was made against a work.

Fees can be requested for certification of copyrights as well as copyright renewals. Any paperwork requested pertaining to information regarding Copyright Office functions or details regarding copyrighted work could come with a fee. Receipts and any paperwork that is to be filed by the Register of Copyrights may also come with a charge. Fees are rounded off to the nearest dollar, or in the case of fees under $12, to the nearest 50 cents.

Any increase in fees must be requested to Congress. A written fee schedule must be submitted to Congress and, if approved, the fee increase will take place 120 days after the request has been filed. Congress has the right to deny a fee increase. Fee increases may only be made to cover production costs and adjust for inflation. Estimated production costs are acquired after the Copyright Office conducts studies to determine if form fees need to be raised.

Any money raised will be deposited into the United States Treasury and invested into a security. Income from the investment will go toward production costs and improvements to the Copyright Office. There is no set amount of time by which the Copyright Office must spend the deposited money.

All US Copyright Office documents are available for public inspection. For a fee, the Copyright Office can conduct a search and provide forms containing information about the copyright. If a public person chooses to use the Copyright Office's website to conduct a search, they may do so for free.

All copyrights granted after 1978 have been placed into the copyright search engine. Online, someone can search for a copyright by searching the name, title, keyword, registration number, or use command keywords. The search engine brings up thousands of results for each search and users can sort the results by relevance, date (descending or ascending), name, or full title.

NEXT: Copyright Protection Background Quick Overview

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