Photo Attorney

Apr 4, 2009

Fees for Copyright Registration By Paper May Increase August 1

The US Copyright Office has requested increased fees for copyright registrations by paper, currently $45. The registrations that most effect photographers are Form CO and the tradional paper form.

The proposed filing fee for Form CO is $50. Form CO is completed online and prints with several barcodes that contain the information from the application. When the form is scanned by the Copyright Office, the eCO system reads the barcodes and populates the fields of an electronic application with the captured data.

Traditional paper forms without barcodes will continue to be accepted for registration. To process these forms, the Office must digitize, manually enter and verify the information provided in the form, and process the accompanying check or money order even before the substantive review of the claim begins. This is a labor-intensive process resulting in increased processing costs. The Office proposes a higher fee of $65 to recover the greater cost. This fee will apply as well to paper filings of applications for group registration for database updates, contributions to periodicals, and published photographs.

The Office believes that the $65 fee is appropriate for photographers to pay in the interim period between the fee increase and the offering of group registrations via eCO. Photographers can submit an application for group registration encompassing hundreds of photographs. Electronic filing has not yet been developed in eCO for group registrations, but when it is available, claimants will be able to register groups of published photographs for the $35 fee. Until that time, the fee of $65 is appropriate in that it reflects more accurately the cost of providing registration for paper filings.

The Copyright Office will maintain the current fee of $35 to register your photographs using the eCO system. Note that the issue of uploading photographs using public Internet sources is expected to be mitigated by the recent increase in uploading time permitted in the eCO system to one hour.

For more information on the proposal for increased fees, you may review the Copyright Office's report. If Congress does not reject the schedule within 120 days, the new fees will take effect pursuant to regulations to be published by the Register of Copyrights.

Registering your copyrights is one of the best ways to protect your work. Check my article on how to register your photographs using the eCO system.