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|
|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|(3) Group registration of unpublished photographs (GRUPH) (up to 750 published photographs)||New Fee||100||284|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|
|(5) Group registration of updates and revisions to photographic databases||65 (paper)||250||N/A|
|(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.