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STATEMENT OF DONALD C. CURRAN
THE ASSOCIATE LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS AND
ACTING REGISTER OF COPYRIGHTS

COPYRIGHT OFFICE

Before the Subcommittee on Courts, Civil Liberties,

and the Administration of Justice
House Committee on the Judiciary
99th Congress, First Session

April 23, 1985

Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I am Donald C. Curran,

The Associate Librarian of Congress and Acting Register of Copyrights in the

Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.

I thank you and the Subcommittee

staff for giving me the opportunity to appear at this oversight hearing.

The

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administrative, legislative, and internat ional copyright policy issues, and

we are prepared to assist the Subcommittee by providing technical information,

background studies, and draft legislative proposals, at your direction.

At this hearing, I will review briefly administrative developments

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legislative and international copyright issues that may be, or have already

been, brought

to

attention.

I

will begin with

administrative I.

your

developments and the functions of the Copyright Office under the Copyright Act

of 1976 and the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984.

ADMINISTRATION OF THE COPYRIGHT OFFICE

A.

Functions of the Copyright Office

The Copyright Office is one of seven departments in the Library of

Congress, which itself, of course, lies within the Legislative Branch. The

Office

is responsible for the administration of the Copyright Act (since

1897), and of the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984 (since January of

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registration of claims to original and renewal copyrights filed by authors and

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books, music, motion pictures, sound recordings, dramat ic works, and works of art, and makes determinat ions regarding the legal sufficiency of the claims

presented.

The Division corresponds with applicants to clarify the scope of

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distributes bibliographic descriptions of all registered works; the Division

records documents pertaining to copyight and mask works, and provides basic

cataloging for many of the Library's special collections.

Our Information and Reference Division searches and reports, upon

request, the copyright facts contained in our records, provides certified

copies of certificates of registration, and assists the public in using our

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registration procedures.

Unlike some other federal agencies, we often deal

directly with individual authors and users who are not generally sophisticated

in copyright and the legal aspects of registration. Finally, the Division has

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A significant aspect of the Copyright office operations is its role

in contributing to the collections of the Library of Congress.

Under the

Copyright Act of 1976 (as well as under the predecessor statute), copies of

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Congress builds its collections of books, periodicals, music, maps, prints,

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when compared to our annual budget of about $17 million with some $6 million

further offset by collected fees.

In many of these areas, copyright deposits

form the greatest part of the Library's acquisitions.

In addition to the functions described above, the Copyright Act of

1976 gave additional responsibilities to the Copyright Office with respect to

administration of the four compulsory licenses provided for in the Act.

Our

Licensing Division now licenses jukeboxes to perform copyrighted music and

collects the statutory royalties under these licenses.

The Licensing Division

also collects the royalties paid under the statutory compulsory license for

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Treasury Department for investment in interest-bearing U.S. securities and are

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determinations by the Copyright Royalty Tribunal, which is not

a part of the

Copyright Office.

We record notices pertaining to the recording of musical

works, and to voluntary agreements regarding public broadcast ing's

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copyrighted works.

The Copyright Office regularly assists both houses of Congress and

their staffs in preparing and comment ing on legislative proposals, responding

to constituent inquiries, and assisting in the further implementation of the

copyright law.

As required by the Copyright Act and at the request of members

of Congress, the Office conducts studies and submits reports to Congress on

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registered over one-half million claims during a fiscal year.

The 502,628

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decrease in staffing amount ing to 19% from fiscal year 1979 to 1984 (or, 121

fewer staff). During the same period, the annual rate of receipts has steadily

increased, up 24% from FY 1979 to FY 1984; during the same period the amount

of work completed has increased 16% and the physical inventory of work on hand

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correspondence) within the Office goal of three to four weeks.

The registration workload was handled with no increase in staff.

A number

of work improvements made the increased output possible.

Among these were:

cross training and redistribut ion of staff resources to heavy workload areas;

a 3 percent reduction in the correspondence rate from 20 percent to 17 percent

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rules, and installation of new and more efficient cataloging terminals.

During the first half of

FY 1985,

the Office experienced a

surge

in

receipts; during October -March 1985, 20,000 more claims were received for

processing than

in the same

time period in FY 1984; this represents a

7%

increase in workload.

The normal rate of increase for this time period over

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divisions most involved in the registration process, experienced a 14% vacancy

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are currently posted; we hope to fill them within the

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in receipts, the holiday season and the unusually high vacancy rate, the time

period for issuance of a certificate without correspondence has slipped from

the normal 4 weeks to a present 7 week timeframe.

We are looking at means, other than massive use of overtime,

for handling

the backlogs to be processed.

These include streamlined procedures, use of

temporary/student summer employees, and judicious application of overtime and

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