US Copyright Office proposes 41% increase in copyright registration fees

May 31, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

May 31, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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The U.S. Copyright Office is proposing changes to fees for copyright registration. The Office has issued a statement outlining the proposed changes in detail, but on average, fees will increase by as much as 41%.

According to the statement, the Office analyzed potential changes to fees and wants to ensure that they are “fair and equitable and give due consideration to the objectives of the copyright system,” as required by the statute.

There are two reasons behind the average fee increase of 41%. One is to account for inflationary increases, and the other is to cover the expected cost of information technology modernization over the next few years. The statement reads that the Office expects that “the higher fees will decrease overall fee processing by approximately 14% at least temporarily, but that this decrease will be offset by a more appropriate level of cost recovery.” As for the revenue, the Office estimates that these proposed fees will bring in roughly $41 million per year.

Earlier this year, the Office implemented some changes to the copyright registration process. One of the changes that caused the most significant reaction is limiting the maximum number of photos in a single application to 750. This by itself can make the process more expensive for those who want to register a larger number of images.

Here is the table of current and proposed cost of copyright registration fees, along with the Office’s cost of service:

Basic Registrations Current Fees ($) Proposed Fees ($) Calculated cost of service ($)
Standard Application (electronic only) 55 75 90
Single Application (electronic only) 35 55 86
Paper Application 85 125 118
Group Registrations Current Fees ($) Proposed Fees ($) Calculated cost of service ($)
(2) Group Registration of contributions to periodicals 85 85 71
(3) Group registration of serials, per issue, with a minimum of 2 issues:
(i) Electronic filing New Fee 70 76
(ii) Paper filing (Form SE/Group) 25 70 101
(4) Group registration of newspapers/newsletters:
(i) Electronic filing for group newspapers and group newsletters 80 (group newspapers) 95 64
New Fee (group newsletters)
(ii) Paper filing for group newsletters (Form G/DN) 80 125 88
(3) Group registration of unpublished photographs (GRUPH) (up to 750 published photographs) New Fee 100 284
(4) Group registration of publish photographs (GRPPH) (up to 750 published photographs) 65 (paper) 100 284
55 (electronic)
(5) Group registration of updates and revisions to photographic databases 65 (paper) 250 N/A
55 (electronic)
(6) group registration of updates and revisions to non-photographic databases 85 500 694
(7) Group registration of unpublished works New Fee 85 N/A
(8) Group registration of secure test items New Fee 75 883

As you can see, even after the increase, the fees will not fully cover the Office’s cost of copyright registration. Only a part of the cost comes from fees with the rest being covered by taxpayer dollars. According to the comments, the increase is too high for many users, despite the benefits you get when you apply for copyright registration.

For now, this is only a proposal for an increase to fees. The Office gives you the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes before it submits the fee schedule to Congress. So, you can submit your comments via this link, and the deadline is 23 July 2018.

[via Reddit; lead image credits: Milica Vujičić (modified)]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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3 responses to “US Copyright Office proposes 41% increase in copyright registration fees”

  1. Kirk Avatar
    Kirk

    Every photographer in the US needs to jump on this and comment NO!

    First, copyright is a Constitutional mandate, In Article 1 right next to the mandate to provide for a navy. By rights, there should be no fee at all for something mandated by the Constitution. Certainly the fee should not be so high as to inhibit citizens from exercising what the Constitution mandates..which $100 certainly does.

    Moreover, the Copyright Office’s logic is the camel’s nose inching into the tent for even higher and faster increases in the future. Their entire logic for setting fees must be refuted.

  2. gtrane Avatar
    gtrane

    Why bother- Only the big corporations benefit from patents and copyrights. Ask yourself how Jeff Bezos’ Amazon could patent product photography on a white background…

  3. JackA Avatar
    JackA

    What makes you believe that those numbers are correct. For everything, they probably pay 5X what the real cost is to run the office! It should be Free!