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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.”

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