[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 133 (Tuesday, July 14, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 33930-33932]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-16664]



Copyright Office

37 CFR Parts 201 and 202

[Docket No. 2009-4]

Electronic Registration for Deposit Account Holders

AGENCY: Copyright Office, Library of Congress.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.


SUMMARY: The Copyright Office is proposing to amend its regulations to 
require that applications for registration paid for by deposit account 
debits be submitted electronically using the

[[Page 33931]]

electronic Copyright Office (eCO) registration system (eService). The 
Copyright Office is also requesting comment as to whether deposit 
accounts offer sufficient efficiencies to continue offering this 

DATES: Written comments must be received in the Office of the General 
Counsel of the Copyright Office no later than August 28, 2009.

ADDRESSES: If hand delivered by a private party, an original and five 
copies of a comment or reply comment should be brought to the Library 
of Congress, U.S. Copyright Office, Room LM-401, James Madison 
Building, 101 Independence Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20559, between 8:30 
a.m. and 5 p.m. The envelope should be addressed as follows: Office of 
the General Counsel, U.S. Copyright Office.
    If delivered by a commercial courier, an original and five copies 
of a comment or reply comment must be delivered to the Congressional 
Courier Acceptance Site (``CCAS'') located at 2nd and D Streets, NE, 
Washington, DC between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. The envelope should be 
addressed as follows: Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Copyright 
Office, LM-403, James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue, SE, 
Washington, DC 20559. Please note that CCAS will not accept delivery by 
means of overnight delivery services such as Federal Express, United 
Parcel Service or DHL. If sent by mail (including overnight delivery 
using U.S. Postal Service Express Mail), an original and five copies of 
a comment or reply comment should be addressed to U.S. Copyright 
Office, Copyright GC/I&R, P.O. Box 70400, Washington, DC 20024.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tanya Sandros, Deputy General Counsel 
or, Chris Weston, Attorney Advisor. Copyright GC/I&R, P.O. Box 70400, 
Washington, DC 20024. Telephone: (202) 707-8380. Telefax: (202) 707-


Deposit Account Background

    The Copyright Office maintains a system of deposit accounts for 
those who frequently use its services. An individual or entity may 
establish a deposit account, make advance deposits into that account, 
and charge copyright fees against the balance instead of sending 
separate payments with applications and other requests for services. 
This process has been more efficient and less expensive for both the 
Office and the applicant than sending separate payments to the 
Copyright Office for each application for registration or for other 

Proposed Change to Deposit Account Regulations

    Historically, there have been no restrictions on registration 
practices connected with using deposit accounts. However, the Copyright 
Office is now proposing to amend its rules to require that, when an 
application for registration is paid for by a deposit account debit, 
the application form be submitted electronically, using the electronic 
Copyright Office (eCO) registration system, known as eService. The 
proposed change would ensure that basic applications for registration 
will be processed more efficiently and Copyright Office administrative 
costs will be reduced. The Office requests comments from the public on 
this proposal.
    Under current practice, when there are insufficient funds in the 
deposit account being used for payment of a paper application, the 
Copyright Office suspends processing of the application to notify the 
account holder that replenishment of the account is needed, and places 
the pending application and associated deposit copies in temporary 
storage. The suspended applications, which may number 3000 or more at 
any one time must be reviewed regularly by Office staff to locate those 
that are newly funded and reprocess them. Thus, insufficient deposit 
account funding at a minimum effectively doubles the time Office staff 
must spend examining and processing an application, time that would 
otherwise be more profitably spent on the current backlog of 
unprocessed paper applications.
    On average, three to four percent of paper applications for 
registration are suspended each year due to lack of sufficient funds in 
deposit accounts. In fiscal 2007, between 16,000 and 22,000 
applications were put on hold for this reason, and the Office expended 
a substantial amount of resources managing the suspended applications 
and deposits. While the Office assesses additional fees for deposit 
account overdrafts and dishonored deposit account replenishment checks, 
see 37 CFR 201.3(d), these penalties do not recover the costs or solve 
the fundamental problems associated with the additional handling and 
the delay in processing. Consequently, the Office is proposing to 
require deposit account holders to file applications for registration 
via eService [including applications that require the submission of 
physical copies of the deposit in order to meet the Best Edition 
requirement, see 37 CFR 202.20(b)(1)], to ensure that the Office can 
collect the fee at the time of filing.
    eService, which was released on July 1, 2008, allows applications 
for copyright registration to be filed electronically and is available 
through the Copyright Office website at www.copyright.gov. An 
application for registration made via eService cannot be completed 
until the method of payment is verified by, for example, ensuring that 
sufficient funds are present in the deposit account and payment has 
been made. In contrast, paper applications must be received by the 
Copyright Office, opened and processed before the validity of the 
proffered method of payment can be ascertained.
    Thus, the proposed change to require that all applications for 
registration paid for by deposit account debits be submitted via 
eService will produce significant efficiencies for the Office.
    By guaranteeing payment at the time of application, the proposal 
will reduce, if not eliminate, the cost and delays ascribable to 
suspending applications lacking fees, storing suspended applications 
and associated deposit copies, notifying deposit account holders of the 
need to replenish their accounts, and retrieving and reprocessing 
suspended applications after fees are received. In addition, it will 
eliminate converting data from a paper application to digital 
information for applications paid for by deposit account debits. 
Electronic claims have been demonstrated to cost the Office only half 
as much as paper claims, even those with no payment or other 
complications. Among the reasons for the lower cost is the avoidance of 
virtually all work associated with scanning and storing applications, 
processing payments, converting data from paper to digital form, and 
verifying the transcribed data prior to issuing a certificate. 
Moreover, the proposed amendment is consistent with the Office's goal 
of maximizing use of the electronic registration system through 
eService. See, e.g., 73 FR 23990 (April 30, 2008) (Notice of proposed 
rulemaking to require all group registrations to be filed 
    From an applicant's perspective, using eService to submit 
applications for registration would also be more efficient. The 
effective date of registration is typically established more quickly 
for electronic applications because, in many cases, the Copyright 
Office receives all the required elements as mandated by 17 U.S.C. 
410(d) - application, fee and deposit copy(ies) - in acceptable form 
sooner than if sent in physical form. In addition, applications for 
registration filed through eService

[[Page 33932]]

are processed faster than paper applications, in part because 
processing is not delayed by the deposit account having insufficient 
funds. Currently, 90% of the applications submitted through eService 
are processed within six months and a third of these claims are 
completed within three months.
    Another advantage to applying for copyright registration via 
eService is the financial benefit to the filer. The fee for filing a 
basic application for registration online is $35 and the current fee 
for filing a paper application is $45, which will increase to $65 on 
August 1, 2009. The lower fee applies to an online submission even if 
the filer must send physical deposits to fulfill the Library of 
Congress's best edition requirement. Finally, there are features of the 
online application that make it easier to complete the application. For 
example, the eService system offers the option of a template feature 
that speeds the process of completing applications by automatically 
copying repeated information, such as name and address, from one 
application to the next.
    The key reason, however, for the proposed change is that the 
eService system notifies an electronic applicant at the point of 
payment when the deposit account contains insufficient funds to process 
the application, making it possible for the deposit account holder to 
replenish the account immediately and avoid any delay in establishing 
an effective date of registration. If the applicant's deposit account 
does not have sufficient funds, payment for the application in question 
or replenishment of the deposit account can be accomplished with a 
credit card or through Pay.gov. Pay.gov is an Internet system for 
credit card payments and automatic clearing house debit transactions 
(electronic checks) managed by the U.S. Treasury Department. Further 
information concerning the payment options for registering claims may 
be found on the Copyright Office website at: http://www.copyright.gov/eco/faq.html, under the heading, ``Paying fees in eCO.''
    It is also important to note that the proposed change will not 
require a deposit account holder to open a new account. In order to 
begin filing electronically, he or she will only need to take the 
following steps: (1) register with the eService system by creating a 
user profile, (2) create an organization account in eService, and (3) 
submit a request to [email protected] to link the existing deposit 
account to the newly created eService organization account. The email 
request should include the deposit account number and the name of the 
eService organization account.

Inquiry Regarding Continued Use of Deposit Accounts

    In considering the proposed rule change, questions have arisen 
about the continued need for deposit accounts. Consequently, the 
Copyright Office is also seeking public comment on whether it should 
cease offering the use of deposit accounts altogether. In an era when 
paper applications and payment via check were the norm, a separate, 
simplified deposit account system presented attractive efficiencies to 
frequent applicants and to the Office. However, in an era of electronic 
registration and payment via corporate or other credit cards, the 
administrative costs of maintaining a separate deposit account system 
are no longer clearly offset by its advantages. The Office is thus 
soliciting the views of current deposit account users as to whether 
they continue to find value in the deposit account system, and what 
impact, if any, the elimination of deposit accounts would have on their 
copyright registration activities in light of the new online payment 

List of Subjects

37 CFR Part 201

    Copyright, General provisions.

37 CFR Part 202

    Preregistration and registration of claims to copyright.

Proposed Regulations

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Copyright Office proposes to 
amend parts 201 and 202 of 37 CFR as follows:


    1. The authority citation for part 201 continues to read as 

    Authority: 17 U.S.C. 702.
    2. Section 201.6(b) is revised to read as follows:

Sec.  201.6  Payment and refund of Copyright Office fees.

* * * * *
    (b) Persons or firms having a considerable amount of business with 
the Copyright Office may prepay copyright expenses by establishing a 
Deposit Account. Pursuant to the requirements of Sec.  202.3(b)(2)(iii) 
of these regulations, application forms for registration paid for by 
deposit account debits must be submitted electronically using the 
electronic Copyright Office (eCO) registration system (eService).
* * * * *


    3. The authority citation for part 202 continues to read as 

    Authority: 17 U.S.C. 408(f), 702.
    4. Amend Sec.  202.3 as follows:
    a.In paragraph (b)(2)(ii) introductory text, by removing 
``Application'' in the last sentence and adding in its place ``Subject 
to the mandatory electronic filing requirements for deposit account 
holders in Sec.  202.3(b)(2)(iii) of these regulations, application'';
    b.In paragraph (b)(2)(ii)(A), by removing ``electronically at the 
Copyright Office website'' and adding in its place ``using the 
electronic Copyright Office (eCO) registration system (eService) at the 
official Copyright Office website'';
    c.In paragraph (b)(2)(ii)(B), by removing ``electronically at the 
Copyright Office website'' and adding in its place ``using the 
electronic Copyright Office (eCO) registration system (eService) at the 
official Copyright Office website'';
    d.In paragraph (b)(2)(ii)(C), by removing ``check, money order, or 
Copyright Office deposit account charge; or,'' and adding in its place 
``check or money order; or,'';
    e.In paragraph (b)(2)(ii)(D), by adding ``in check or money order'' 
after ``the required filing fee''; and
    f.Add a new paragraph (b)(2)(iii).
    The revisions and additions to Sec.  202.3 read as follows:

Sec.  202.3  Registration of copyright.

* * * * *
    (b)* * *
    (2)* * *
    (iii) When the fee required by Sec.  201.3 of this section to file 
a basic application for registration is paid for by a deposit account 
debit, the application form shall be submitted through the electronic 
Copyright Office (eCO) registration system (eService) that is available 
at www.copyright.gov. If an applicant submits a paper application form 
for basic registration paid for by a deposit account debit, the 
Copyright Office will have the option - after processing the 
application - of terminating that applicant's deposit account. 
Termination will be effective 30 days after notification to the deposit 
account holder.
* * * * *

    Dated: July 8, 2009.
Marybeth Peters,
Register of Copyrights.
[FR Doc. E9-16664 Filed 7-13-09; 8:45 am]