U.S. Copyright Office Releases Updated Version of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition

Acting Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple Claggett today released an updated version of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition. It is available on the Office’s website at https://www.copyright.gov/comp3/. This update is effective as of September 29, 2017, and it is the governing administrative manual for registrations and recordations issued by the U.S. Copyright Office on or after that date.

The Compendium is the administrative manual of the Register of Copyrights concerning the mandate and statutory duties of the Copyright Office under Title 17 of the United States Code. See 37 CFR. § 201.2(b)(7).

This update was initially released in draft form on June 1, 2017. The Office received comments on the draft from three organizations and four individuals. After carefully reviewing these comments, the Office revised twenty-one sections of the Compendium. For information concerning these revisions, read more. A complete list of all sections that have been added, amended, revised, or removed is posted on the Office’s website.

This version of the Compendium has been reformatted to improve readability for online and offline users. The update also includes improved hyperlinks to provide readers with direct access to the statute, regulations, and resources on the Office’s website, as well as improved cross-references between chapters.

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Copyright Office Begins Release of Refreshed and Updated Circulars

The U.S. Copyright Office today begins its release of refreshed and updated circulars to provide up-to-date and authoritative copyright information for a broad general audience. This release of 31 circulars represents a wide range of topics including copyright fundamentals, core Office procedures, Licensing Division practices, and work-specific application tips. These circulars are subject to two notable changes: (1) reformatting for optimal online reading and (2) revision to conform to the third edition of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices. Circulars have served as a gateway to copyright law and Office practices since the late 1800s, and this is the first design update in more than a decade.

Remaining circulars will be released on a rolling basis through the end of 2017. The updated circulars are available here, and a table of topics can be found here.

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Copyright Office Announces Open Application Period for Ringer Fellowships

The Barbara A. Ringer Copyright Honors Program offers 18 to 24-month paid fellowships for recent law school graduates and other attorneys in the early stages of their careers. Candidates must have a strong interest in copyright law and a demonstrated record of achievement in law school or in practice.

Ringer Fellows are closely mentored by senior attorneys and work on a range of copyright-related issues, including policy studies and analyses, administrative proceedings, legislative initiatives, litigation matters, and international developments.

Applications for the Ringer Honors Program are being accepted from August 1 through October 17, 2016. For more information, including how to apply, please visit the Barbara A. Ringer Copyright Honors Program page.

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Watch Lynda.com Photo Attorney Courses on Apple TV

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Lynda.com has long been a great resource for photographers. Now get access to this great content, including the Photo Attorney courses (Photography and the Law: Understanding Copyright and Photography and the Law: Photographers’ Rights and Releases), on Apple TV!  Learn how to get connected on the Linked.com blog.

Need a membership?  Get your free 10-day trial to Lynda.com here.

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Save the Date: Symposium on Moral Rights on Monday, April 18, 2016

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The U.S. Copyright Office and the George Mason University School of Law and its Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property will host a symposium on “Authors, Attribution, and Integrity: Examining Moral Rights in the United States” on Monday, April 18, 2016.

This day-long symposium will bring together authors, scholars, and other stakeholders for a broad discussion of copyright issues related to moral rights. Topics will include the historical development of moral rights, the value that authors place on moral rights generally and individual moral rights specifically, the various ways these rights are provided for under current law, and new considerations for the digital age. Further study of moral rights under U.S. copyright law is among the conclusions and recommendations made by the Register of Copyrights in testimony before Congress last spring, and this symposium will launch the Copyright Office’s further analysis on this subject.

Open to the public, this event will be held in the Madison Building of the Library of Congress, located at 101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, D.C. The agenda identifying the sessions has been posted. Please visit the event page to stay apprised of updated information about the agenda and speakers.

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U.S. Copyright Office Announcement Regarding Release of a Draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition

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Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante today released a public draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition (the “Third Edition”). The first major revision in more than two decades, the draft presents more than 1200 pages of administrative practices and sets the stage for a number of long-term improvements in registration and recordation policy. It will remain in draft form for approximately 120 days pending final review and implementation, taking effect on or around December 15, 2014.

“The new Compendium is an exhaustive undertaking that explains and reconciles the many legal interpretations, regulations, and procedures of the Copyright Office in administering the copyright law,” said Pallante. “At the same time, it provides a necessary and authoritative foundation for ongoing policy and regulatory discussions that are pertinent to the digital era.”

The Compendium is the administrative manual of the Register of Copyrights concerning the mandate and statutory duties of the Copyright Office under Title 17 of the United States Code. See 37 C.F.R. § 201.2(b)(7). While prior publications were largely internally directed, the Third Edition is a comprehensive overhaul that makes the practices and standards of the Office more accessible and transparent to the public. It will serve as a technical manual for staff, as well as a guidebook for authors, copyright licensees, practitioners, scholars, the courts, and members of the general public. As in the past, it will address fundamental principles of copyright law—for example, standards of copyrightability, joint authorship, work for hire, and termination of transfers—as well as routine questions involving fees, records retrieval, litigation documents, and other procedural matters.

Among other improvements, the Third Edition will offer the significant benefits of electronic publication. More than three times the size of the previous edition, it will nonetheless be more navigable than before and allow for a regular schedule of updates. In final form, it will feature hypertext links to cross-referenced material, glossary terms, and statutory and regulatory provisions.

In the years ahead, the Copyright Office will introduce a number of public discussions regarding the application and deposit requirements for many digital works, including websites, software, photographs, e-books, audiovisual works, and musical works, many of which have multiple authors, multiple dates of creation, and multiple dates of publication. A key objective will be creating digital copyright records that are accurate, affordable, and as useful as possible when it comes to the identification of ownership and copyrighted works.

The Compendium, Third Edition is the result of more than two and a half years of work. Read acknowledgements. Members of the public may provide feedback on the Compendium at any time before or after the Third Edition goes into effect. See www.copyright.gov/comp3/ for more information.

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Free Legal Guide for Online Publishers and Media Creators

Tahoe Sunset-Copyright Carolyn E. Wright

In this digital age, photographers posting online need to know how to protect themselves. While the Internet provides lots of information, some of it is better than others.

One great source of information is the Digital Media Law Project (DMLP). Founded in 2007 as the “Citizen Media Law Project,” the DMLP, through its five core initiatives, “works to ensure that individuals and organizations involved in online journalism and digital media have access to the legal resources, education, tools, and representation that they need to thrive.” The DMLP is a project of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, a research center founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. 

The DMLP has prepared a free Legal Guide that “addresses the practical issues that you may encounter as you gather information, create new and exciting content, and publish your work online. It is intended for use by citizen media creators with or without formal legal training, as well as others with an interest in these issues.” 

You can search the Guide by subject or by state. It covers a variety of topics, including:

Educating yourself on the law and risks of posting online is another important way to protect yourself and your work. Getting the information from a reliable source is the smartest way to do it!

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Save the Date: “Copyright Matters” Public Events

Sneaky Wolf - Copyright Carolyn E. Wright

The U.S. Copyright Office is hosting some public events on copyright:

February 5, 2013: Professor Peter Jaszi, “Origins and Goals of Best Practices in Fair Use.” 10:30 a.m., Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress

March 6, 2013: “Nimmer on Copyright: Celebrating 50 Years of the Treatise with Observations from Legal Scholars.” 3:00 p.m., Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress

Save the dates!  Additional details to come.

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It’s come down to a ferret

In this digital age, it’s even easier for someone to steal your images. This is aggravated by a new generation that grew up copying music and other electronic files without a second thought.

To combat this, the Business Software Alliance is developing programs to promote copyright protection, cyber security, trade and e-commerce. BSA’s members include software industry giants such as Adobe and Microsoft.

BSA apparently recognizes that the best way to fight infringement is to raise people’s awareness at an early age. BSA has created a comic book called “Copyright Crusader to the Rescue.” It was developed to teach children about cyber ethics, including responsible computer and internet use, respect for digital creativity and copyright protection. The program’s mascot is a ferret, and kids selected its name, Garret.

While we wait for people to grow a conscience, you should do what you can to protect your copyrights. Register your images with the U.S. Copyright Office, and sue infringers. Check with an attorney to make sure that you exercise your rights to the fullest.

Take my advice. Get Professional Help.

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