Today is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Book and Copyright Day. “This is a day to celebrate books as the embodiment of human creativity and the desire to share ideas and knowledge, to inspire understanding and tolerance.”* In honor of World Book and Copyright Day, the Law Library will publish a series of four posts this week and next week related to copyright law. Today’s post topic is the website for the United States Copyright Office, which can be accessed at www.copyright.gov.
Created by Congress in 1897, the Copyright Office is a department of the Library of Congress that administers the copyright registration system, provides basic copyright information services to the public and administers statutory licenses that manage and disperse certain monies to copyright owners. The Register of Copyrights, a position also created in 1897, is the director of the Copyright Office and works under the direction of the Librarian of Congress to carry out the Copyright Office’s legal and policy functions.
The Copyright Office’s website provides a wealth of information and resources for those interested in learning about copyright law and related policy issues, registering a copyright, recording a document or searching the Copyright Office’s records.
The website’s main page highlights the following “How Do I…?” sections.
- How do I register a copyright?
- How do I record a document?
- How do I search records?
- How do I learn about statutory licensing?
The website is also a good source of research materials.
- You can learn more about the law and policies regarding copyrights and other intellectual property law through access to the applicable U.S. Code provisions and regulations. There’s also a wealth of related information, such as historical documents, Congressional hearings, testimonies and past and open rulemaking proceedings.
- Factsheets, such as factsheets on fees assessed by the Copyright Office, and Forms are available on the website.
- You can access recent annual reports and policy studies. For example, you can read “Copyright and the Music Marketplace”, a study by the U.S. Copyright Office detailing the existing music licensing framework and providing recommendations for changes to the system. Links found on the webpage can lead you to related materials as well as any public comments.
- You can keep up with the Copyright Office’s current events through Federal Register Notices, NewsNet and Press Releases.
- You can access and download the full version of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, which is the administrative manual of the Register of Copyrights that provides the Copyright Office with instruction regarding their statutory duties and provides copyright applicants, practitioners and other members of the public with guidance regarding institutional practices.
If you have questions about how to use the resources available on www.copyright.gov, online tutorials are available that can guide your through completing your electronic copyright registration and searching the Copyright Office Catalog.** In addition, there are Frequently Asked Questions pages that addresses many topics of interest, such as how to register a work, privacy questions, use questions, information about the services available at the Copyright Office and mandatory deposits.
*Message dated April 23, 2014, from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, available at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002273/227351e.pdf.
**You may need access to PowerPoint or a PowerPoint reader to access these tutorials.