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Copyright Office Launches Recordation System Pilot

The following is a guest post by KanKan Yu, product owner and information system business owner for the Recordation Modernization Initiative, U.S. Copyright Office.

Today is an exciting day for the U.S. Copyright Office’s modernization efforts. After decades of manually processing paper documents submitted for recordation, the Office launched a limited release pilot for its new online document recordation system. Director of the Office of Public Records and Repositories Denise Wofford explained that this pilot “is a significant step toward the electronic paradigm driving the modernization of our recordation system.” Through this pilot, the Office will begin to accept electronic submissions of documents related to the transfers of copyright ownership and other documents pertaining to copyright that may be recorded under section 205 of the Copyright Act.

Recordation is one of the few paper-based processes remaining at the Office. Many times, remitters send in documents relating to hundreds or even thousands of works that staff must manually index by transcribing titles into the Office’s internal system. Staff also manually process return receipts and payments. Although the Office now allows remitters the option of submitting electronic title lists to save indexing time and reduce potential transcription errors, the underlying issues associated with the manual processing of submissions remain.

That is changing. As one part of our Office-wide modernization efforts, recordation is moving to an online electronic system that is designed and built based on user input and feedback. The Office is developing a system that will reduce the amount of time needed to process a submission and issue a certificate of recordation, and provide remitters with transparent status and progress notifications for submissions.

Participants will see an account dashboard like this when they take part in the pilot.

This system pilot is the first module in the Office’s Enterprise Copyright System (ECS). The ECS is the Office’s planned new enterprise IT system that will integrate and improve the Office’s technology systems and will provide users with a consistent and optimal interface. The Office worked closely with the Library’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) by providing business information that OCIO, which undertakes the development work, uses to develop the system. To learn more how the recordation system pilot fits into the ECS, visit copyright.gov/copyright-modernization/.

Pilot participants are volunteers who are representative of frequent and experienced users of our relevant recordation services. We will incorporate what we learn from the pilot in a process of continuous development, allowing us to add features during the pilot, in anticipation of the full public release. The pilot does not currently include notices of termination, but the Office is working on how to include that function. While the limited pilot is not yet accessible to the general public, anyone interested in the system can see some highlights in the September 26, 2019, webinar on recordation modernization.

We are all are excited about this pilot and the future of the electronic recordation system. As my colleague, Copyright Specialist Lorraine Baysek, says, “The pilot is the long-awaited and welcome first step into the future of speedy recordation and notice for the copyright community. Of course, the pilot is only the beginning, but everything begins somewhere.”

Four-on-the-Floor: Keep the Beat with Music Modernization Act Developments

The following is a guest post by Regan A. Smith, General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights. The Music Modernization Act (MMA) is a historic overhaul to the nation’s music copyright laws. As you may already know, the law creates a new blanket license covering the reproduction and distribution of musical works, to be administered […]

Moving Forward: The Copyright Office During COVID-19

Like many Americans, the Copyright Office staff and the Office as an organization are experiencing unprecedented challenges since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure the safety of staff and visitors, the Library of Congress closed its buildings to the public, including the one that houses the Office, until further notice. In light of this, plus ongoing health and safety guidance from the Library, the Office has taken steps to shut down on-site operations.

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The music industry in the 1920s was forever changed with the introduction of the radio. Radio enabled music dissemination at an unprecedented rate and allowed live performers to reach millions of people at home, thereby fundamentally altering pre-existing business models. In the 2020s, one hundred years later, the industry is yet again facing a potentially industry-changing new technology. This time, however, it is the force of artificial intelligence (AI) that will transform the way in which business models and the music creation processes work.