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Copyright Office Records How to conduct a search
Copyright Office Announcements, including Federal Regulations
CARP & Licensing Information
Fax on Demand—Copyright information via fax
U.S. Copyright Office Creates Online News List
Copyright Office FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Copyright Office Reports
Copyright Legislation—New and Pending

World Intellectual Property Organization Diplomatic Conference Preparatory Documents

World Intellectual Property Organization Diplomatic Conference New Treaties
CORDS (Copyright Office Electronic Registration, Recordation & Deposit System)
URAA, GATT amends U.S. law
Internet Resources Related to Copyright


HOME PAGE Goal.—The goal of the CORDS project is to develop and test a system for copyright registration and recordation with copyright applications, copies of works, and copyright related documents transmitted in digital form over communications networks such as the Internet.

The Copyright Office and the Library of Congress will also cooperatively establish the policies and operating procedures necessary for both the Office and the Library to create secure digital repositories to store, retrieve, and use digitized copyrighted materials in accordance with the terms and conditions of access and use established by copyright owners.

Benefits.-Creators will register their works electronically, transmitting both the application and the works in digital form, with registration information then incorporated into the centralized online database of copyright registration records.

- Copyright owners and agents will record electronically documents pertaining to transfers of copyright ownership (such as assignments, licenses, and security in

terests) which will be accessible in an online database. -CORDS will test a Copyright Office repository for registered digital works

where access will be governed by the law and regulations. CORDS will also test a Library of Congress repository for digital works selected for its collections. Access to the repository may be available in accordance with the authors' or other copyright owners' terms and conditions. - Copyrighted works in digital form will be available for the benefit of research,

education, and other purposes. Background. Since the establishment of the U.S. Copyright Office in the 1800's, the Office has manually handled all the materials submitted for copyright and deposit, as well as the documents submitted for recordation of ownership transfers such as assignments and exclusive licenses.

Description. Since fiscal year 1993, the U.S. Copyright Office, the Library of Congress, and the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) have been cooperating on the development of the testbed Copyright Office Electronic Registration, Recordation & Deposit System (CORDS). CNRI is developing the testbed system under contract with the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) and the Library of Congress.



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The system architecture includes these components:

1. Electronic Registration and Recordation System.—This system consists of the hardware and software that will enable copyright applicants to prepare their copyright applications and deposit materials in machine readable formats, to sign their submissions digitally using public key/private key encryption technology, and to send applications, deposits, and documents to the Copyright Office via the Internet, using Privacy enhanced Mail (PEM). This system will enable the Copyright Office to receive digital submissions via the Internet, verify that each one is authentic and complete, debit fees from the applicant's deposit account with the Copyright Office, create an electronic tracking record, acknowledge receipt of the application or document, provide for online processing of applications, deposits, and documents by examiners and catalogers, and notify applicants electronically that the registration or recordation has been completed. The Copyright Office digital repository will hold these digital copyright deposit materials in a secure and verifiable manner.

2. Existing Copyright Office Systems.—The system components that process digital applications will interface with existing Copyright Office in-process (COINS) and cataloging (COPICS) automated systems. CORDS records will be compatible and integrated with existing automated Copyright Office records.

3. Handle Management System.-Each digital object registered with the Copyright Office will have a single unique identifier called a "handle.” The handle is used to locate the digital object and its associated rights and permissions information.

Testbeds. -A testbed copyright registration system with electronic deposits will be available in mid to late 1995 for trial use for copyright registration of a limited number of digital works. Thereafter, a testbed recordation system will be developed and tested as well. As part of the testbed process, the Copyright Office will define the policies and procedures that permit the Office to receive and process copyright registrations and recordations of documents electronically.

Future plans. After completion of the registration and recordation testbeds, the Copyright Office plans to build on the basic system if sufficient funds are appropriated and available in fiscal year 1996 and thereafter to support further development. After analyzing the testbed project results, the Office plans to incorporate necessary changes and to expand the program systematically in phases, testing electronic submission of other formats of copyrighted materials submitted by representative groups of copyright owners.


AMERICAN MEMORY Documents, photographs, movies, and sound recordings that tell America's story. Resources for Educators: The Learning Page. New Collections: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photos from the FSA-OWI, 1935–1945 and An American Ballroom Companion: Dance Manuals, ca. 1490–1920. Collection Previews: Railroad Maps: 1828–1900 and Buckaroos in Paradise: Ranching Culture in Northern Nevada, 1945–1982. New Feature: Today in History.

THOMAS: LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION Full text access to current bills under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

EXHIBITIONS You may have missed them on display in Washington, D.C. but now open indefinitely on the Internet. Updated: American Treasures of the Library of Congress.


Resources for libraries, information professionals, and researchers. These include: Acquisitions, Cataloging, Cataloging Distribution Service, Preservation, Reading Rooms, Research and Reference, Special Programs and Services, Standards, Library of Congress Catalogs, Access to Catalogs at Other Libraries.

RESEARCH TOOLS Resources for researchers and information professionals. These include the catalogs of the Library of Congress and other libraries, databases on special topics, and other Library of Congress Internet resources.


(Dollars in millions)




Library of Congress salaries and expenses

(Receipts) Copyright Office salaries and expenses

(Receipts) Congressional Research Service salaries and expenses National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped salaries

and expenses Furniture and furnishings





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OFFICE Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: I appreciate the opportunity to present the budget request of the Copyright Office for fiscal year 1999. 1997 was an important year; it was the 100th anniversary of the Copyright Office and of the position of Register of Copyrights. During these 100 years the role of the Office has been one of leadership in the establishment of U.S. copyright policy and service to the nation. The record has been one of solid achievement, and this year is no different.

The Office processed 627,864 claims, registered 569,226 which represented over 700,000 works, recorded 16,548 documents with more than 250,000 titles, collected over $15,000,000 for our services and obtained over 850,000 copies of works worth over $25,000,000 for the collections of the Library. Additionally, we handled 421,150 requests for information, and the Licensing Division collected approximately $185,000,000 in royalty fees.

The copyright-based industries once again were at the forefront of our economy. They grew twice as fast as the rest of the economy as a whole and surpassed every other export sector except automotive and agriculture. These creative industries depend on strong copyright protection here and abroad.

Copyright protects works of authorship which comprise a wide variety of products and services. These include traditional products, such as print materials, films, sound recordings, photographs, sculptures, maps and television programs and electronic products, such as computer programs and databases. Digital technology and the growth of computer and telecommunications networks, particularly, the Internet, have posed many challenges to the protection and enforcement of copyright. These are of critical concern to authors, owners of copyright, as well as to users of copyright material, and the Copyright Office as well as the Congress spent many hours on digital agenda" issues in 1997.

In fiscal year 1999 the Copyright Office will focus on three major initiatives—
-CORDS (the Copyright Office Electronic Registration, Recordation and Deposit

Security of materials
-Planning for a new schedule of statutory fees and revising the discretionary fee

schedule for special services.
With respect to CORDS, there were significant achievements in 1997. Stanford
University and MIT Press joined_Carnegie Mellon University as test sites and
proved the concept of the system. The system's capabilities were expanded to cover
additional classes of works, multiple hardware platforms and operating environ-
ments, as well as multiple Internet browsers. Planning was done to begin accepting
electronic applications with traditional deposits, and a long-range business plan
analyzing the costs and benefits was completed. A batch mode interface was created

to support publishers who submit large numbers of claims, and an extensive outreach effort to gain new partners for the full or the partial system is underway.

The Copyright Office and its expert consultants will continue to build on and enhance the basic production system, incorporating changes from the test results as well as the latest advances in technology. The Office must expand the program systematically in a series of carefully constructed test phases; consequently, we are requesting authority, funded through increased fee receipts, to add up to three program analysts and three computer specialists to deal with an increasing workload.

CORDS will play an important role in our networked digital world. It is essential to the future of the Copyright Office. It will also serve as an important electronic acquisition tool for the Library, and an essential component in rights management systems throughout the world.

Let me turn to security. Over a million copies of works come in to the Copyright Office for possible use by the Library of Congress in its collections or exchange programs. Keeping those copies secure is our duty; this year we again made a number of improvements including naming a Security Manager to coordinate our security initiatives, which are part of the Library's Security Plan.

A key component of the plan is expanding the theft detection and accession (ownership) marking programs, and the Office is seeking $993,521 to ensure the application of anti-theft devices and the marking of all materials. Additionally, when the Library installs its reader registration system in the Madison Building, the Office plans to automate its manual reader registration system in five public service areas. Consequently we are requesting $47,000 for required computer software and equipment.

Also, the Copyright Office is participating in the Library's Risk Assessment program which will assess vulnerabilities of theft, damage and physical deterioration to the Library's Heritage Assets. In 1997 a risk assessment of CD's and CD-ROM's in the Office was conducted. We are requesting $225,000 to conduct five additional assessments to identify control weaknesses and develop a plan of action.

Last year I reported on our attempts to get additional fee setting authority. I am happy to report that such authority was enacted into law on November 13 in a technical amendments act (Public Law 105–80). The Office can propose fees up to full cost recovery; however, these fees must be fair and equitable and must give due consideration to the objectives of the copyright system. The proposed statutory fee schedule, which is to be accompanied by an economic analysis, is to be given to the Congress; the fees can go into effect 120 days after the schedule is submitted to the Congress unless during that 120 day period a law is enacted stating in substance that

the Congress does not approve the fee schedule. In anticipation of this legislation, the Copyright Office began the process of determining the costs of registering claims, recording documents and providing related services by hiring a consulting firm with expertise in cost accounting and an expert in the new Federal Managerial Cost Accounting Standards and establishing a Copyright Office Fee Analysis Task Group. The Office believes that certain expenses, e.g., those related to obtaining, pies of works for the Library through the mandatory deposit provisions of the law and the Office's policy program are not, and should not be, recoverable through fees. These activities would continue to be funded by appropriations.

The consulting firm was guided by the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) cost accounting standards which require measuring, recognizing and reporting the full cost of programs. Full cost is defined as the value of all resources that were applied to the production and delivery of an activity, good, or service. Thus, costs must be identified and recognized regardless of which government entity funded the expenses. This is true even if only a portion of the full cost can be recovered.

With respect to the statutory fees, the Office plans to meet with the copyright industries, authors' groups and other affected parties. The fee structure is complicated; therefore, the Office will publish a list of questions with one or more possible fee schedules and formally seek input through public hearings and public comment. Some of the questions are: Should the registration fee differ according to the type of material being registered? Should a motion picture cost the same as a newspaper or a song? Should a computer program cost the same as a photograph? Should a distinction be made depending on whether the work is published or unpublished or whether the work is one that is made for hire? After considering the cost study, the operational and policy issues as well as the input from the public, the Office will prepare the required economic analysis and propose a schedule of statutory fees to the Congress. Because of these various factors, the fiscal 1999 budget does not include statutory fee increases.

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