[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 123 (Wednesday, June 26, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 38240-38247]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-15016]



Copyright Office

37 CFR Part 201

[Docket No. 2013-5]

Authentication of Electronic Signatures on Electronically Filed 
Statements of Account

AGENCY: U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Copyright Office (``Copyright Office'' or ``Office'') 
is reengineering certain processes in its Licensing Division to enable 
cable systems operating under the statutory license governing the 
secondary transmission of over-the-air television broadcast signals to 
file Statements of Account electronically. As part of that process, the 
Office plans to adopt an identity authentication process that will 
allow for the use of electronic

[[Page 38241]]

signatures. The Office proposes revisions to specific rules to account 
for the changes associated with the implementation of an electronic 
Statement of Account filing system and seeks public comment on the 
proposed process and regulatory changes to accommodate the use of 
electronic signatures.

DATES: Comments due July 26, 2013. Reply comments July 26, 2013.

ADDRESSES: All comments and reply comments shall be submitted 
electronically. A comment page containing a comment form is posted on 
the Copyright Office Web site at http://www.copyright.gov/docs/digsig. 
The Web site interface requires submitters to complete a form 
specifying name and organization, as applicable, and to upload comments 
as an attachment via a browser button. To meet accessibility standards, 
all comments must be uploaded in a single file in either the Portable 
Document File (PDF) format that contains searchable, accessible text 
(not an image); Microsoft Word; WordPerfect; Rich Text Format (RTF); or 
ASCII text file format (not a scanned document). The maximum file size 
is 6 megabytes (MB). The name of the submitter and organization should 
appear on both the form and the face of the comments. All comments will 
be posted publicly on the Copyright Office Web site exactly as they are 
received, along with names and organizations. If electronic submission 
of comments is not feasible, please contact the Copyright Office at 
202-707-8380 for special instructions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Andrea Zizzi, Office of the General 
Counsel, Copyright GC/I&R, P.O. Box 70400, Washington, DC 20024. 
Telephone: (202) 707-8380. Telefax: (202) 707-8366.


I. Introduction

    Section 111 of the Copyright Act (``Act''), title 17 of the United 
States Code (``Section 111''), provides cable operators with a 
statutory license to retransmit a performance or display of a work 
embodied in a primary transmission made by a television station 
licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (``FCC''). Cable 
system statutory licensees are required to file Statements of Account 
(``SOAs'') and pay royalty fees to the Copyright Office. SOAs contain 
information on a cable operator's channel line-ups and gross receipts 
for the sale of cable service to the public. Payments made under the 
cable statutory license are remitted semi-annually to the Office, which 
invests the royalties in United States Treasury securities pending 
distribution of the funds to those copyright owners who are entitled to 
receive a share of the fees.
    Since 2007, the Copyright Office has been implementing plans to 
reengineer the workflow of its Licensing Division (``Division'') for 
the administration, processing, and recordkeeping of electronically 
filed SOAs and related documents. The goals of this ongoing effort are 
manifold: (1) To facilitate the timely processing of SOAs; (2) to 
enable the Division to better manage its royalty investment accounts; 
(3) to expedite the availability of SOAs and other records for public 
inspection; and (4) to better control costs for those who participate 
in the statutory licensing system.
    One of the key reengineering efforts is to digitize the royalty fee 
collections process. The Office is in the process of configuring and 
deploying a commercial off the shelf (``COTS'') computer software 
package as part of an overall business process reengineering effort. 
The COTS package will support the development of an efficient 
electronic system for filing, managing, and retrieving Statements of 
Account, royalty payments, notices, amendments, and other documents 
related to the work of the Licensing Division. The COTS package will 
provide the Office with the capability to automate the reengineered 
processes and provide a platform for managing stakeholders' needs 
online. The Office has named the new electronic filing system ``eLi'' 
(``eLi'' or ``Electronic Licensing'').
    Central to the success of eLi is the establishment of a robust 
identity authentication system for the preparation and electronic 
filing of SOAs. This authentication will be accomplished through an 
electronic signature process. An authentication system for electronic 
filings is necessary because: (1) It establishes the identity of the 
individual(s) preparing the form; (2) it establishes the identity of 
the individual charged with the responsibility of certifying and 
signing the SOA during a secure online session; (3) it creates an 
electronically signed record in a format that accurately reflects the 
information provided by the cable system as submitted at the time of 
the electronic signing; and (4) it helps protect digital documents from 
tampering. In establishing eLi, the Office must revise its regulations 
to allow for the use of electronic signatures as the means of verifying 
the identity of the individual signing the SOA \1\ and linking that 
individual to a specific electronic record.\2\ The Office requests 
comments on proposed regulations governing the electronic signature 
process for filing cable Statements of Account.

    \1\ E-Authentication Guidance for Federal Agencies, [OMB 04-04], 
Sec.  1.3 (Dec. 16, 2003).
    \2\ According to Section 106(5) of the Electronic Signatures in 
Global and National Commerce Act (known as ``ESIGN''), an electronic 
signature is defined as ``an electronic sound, symbol, or process, 
attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record 
and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the 
record.'' ESIGN, 15 U.S.C. 7006(5) (2000). Under Section 2 of the 
Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UTEA), the term ``electronic 
signature means an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to 
or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a 
person with the intent to sign the record.'' Unif. Elec. 
Transactions Act Sec.  2 (1999).

II. Background

A. Levels of Authentication

    Today, cable companies may utilize a number of employees in the 
preparation of an SOA. The Office's regulations, however, require that 
the document be signed by a person of authority, i.e., an owner, 
partner, or officer of the company who, by signing, certifies that the 
information in the SOA is complete and accurate. 37 CFR 201.17(3)(14). 
For eLi filings, the Office seeks to adopt an identity authentication 
method that will identify each person involved in the preparation of 
the SOA, authenticate the identity of the person certifying the 
statement by his or her electronic signature on the document, and 
secure the information provided in the certified document.
    The Office of Management and Budget (``OMB'') manual, E-
Authentication Guidance for Federal Agencies, [OMB 04-04], describes 
the four levels of identity assurance currently used for electronic 
transactions filed with the federal government that require 
authentication. In choosing which assurance level is appropriate to 
authenticate a particular kind of electronic government transaction, 
the agency must consider the risk factors involved and the level of 
security required for that transaction. Under the OMB framework, Level 
1 provides the lowest security assurance and Level 4 provides the 
highest, with Levels 2 and 3 providing a mix of security and ease of 
access to protected documents.
    Level 1 authentication methods do not require identity proofing, 
but they must provide some assurance that the party who electronically 
signed a protected document is the same individual who transmitted it. 
Level 1 methods allow a wide range of available authentication 
technologies to be employed and permit the use of any token methods of 
Levels 2, 3, or 4.

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Successful authentication requires that the electronic signer prove, 
through a secure authentication protocol, that he or she controls the 
token. The method does not permit plain text passwords to be 
transmitted across a network, nor does it require cryptographic methods 
that block offline analysis by eavesdroppers. Thus, at Level 1, long-
term shared authentication secrets may be revealed to verifiers.\3\

    \3\ See Electronic Authentication Guideline, NIST Publication 
800-63-1, version 800-63-1 (December 2011) (``NIST Publication 800-
63-1'') at vii, http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-63-1/SP-800-63-1.pdf.

    Level 2 provides single factor remote network authentication. 
Successful level 2 authentication requires that the individual prove, 
through a secure authentication protocol that utilizes approved 
cryptology, that he or she controls an access token, such as a password 
or a PIN number. This kind of authentication method is designed to 
prevent security threats such as eavesdropper and online guessing 
attacks. However, the single authentication token is vulnerable to 
compromise via replay, on-line guessing, and verifier impersonation.\4\

    \4\ Id. at vii-viii.

    Level 3 identity authentication will provide appropriate security 
for authentication of electronic signatures on Statements of Account. 
Level 3 provides multi-factor remote network authentication. At this 
level, identity proofing procedures require verification of identifying 
materials and information. Level 3 authentication is based on proof of 
possession of a key or a one-time password through a cryptographic 
protocol. As the second step, it requires cryptographic strength 
mechanisms that protect the primary authentication token (secret key, 
private key or one-time password).\5\

    \5\ Id. at viii.

    Level 4 authentication generally applies only to those systems 
managing access to highly sensitive information. Level 4 is structured 
to provide the highest practical remote network authentication 
assurance. Level 4 authentication is based on proof of possession of a 
key through a cryptographic protocol. Only ``hard'' cryptographic 
tokens are allowed. Level 4 also requires strong cryptographic 
authentication of all parties and all sensitive data transfers between 
the parties.\6\

    \6\ Id.

    The Copyright Office has conducted an internal assessment of the 
protocols necessary to secure and certify electronically filed 
Statements of Accounts. The Office notes that SOAs are made readily 
available to the public for inspection, and has concluded that once 
filed, cable system SOAs and related documents do not contain highly 
sensitive or confidential information. Based upon these findings, the 
Office has determined that it need not implement the most exacting 
security protocol for the authentication of the electronic signatures, 
meaning that Level 4 would be unnecessarily burdensome, given the low 
security risk. At the same time, the Office has determined that it is 
necessary to implement an authentication mechanism that guarantees that 
a particular individual has performed a certain task. Unfortunately, 
neither Level 1 nor Level 2 authentication will provide sufficient 
``proof'' to link an individual to a specific filing.
    The Office does believe that Level 3 authentication methods are 
well suited for the authentication of electronic signatures on SOAs and 
related documents. Level 3 methods are utilized by financial 
institutions \7\ and government agencies \8\ that have found level 3 
methods to provide sufficient security for their work products and 
operating environments. The Office believes that a two-step 
authentication process will provide the necessary balance between 
ensuring the security of the information provided by the cable operator 
in the SOA while allowing remote authentication of the identity of the 
individual who has legitimate access to sign and certify the SOA. 
``Two-factor'' authentication, integral in the Level 3 security 
framework, provides the required level of confidence necessary to 
establish in a consistent and secure manner the connection between the 
signing individual and his/her action as it relates to electronically 
filed SOAs. Moreover, this level of identity authentication provides 
safeguards against fraud consistent with the criminal provisions under 
title 18 of the United States Code.\9\

    \7\ Level 3 authentication is prevalent among financial 
institutions. IDManagement.gov, Trust Framework Provider Adoption 
Process (TFPAP) For Levels of Assurance 1, 2, and non-PKI 3 28-36, 
http://www.idmanagement.gov/documents/TrustFrameworkProviderAdoptionProcess.pdf. In 2005, the Federal 
Financial Institutions Examination Council (``FFIEC'') provided 
guidance, indicating that commercial banking/brokerage businesses 
have been using out of band authentication for years. Federal 
Financial Institutions Examination Council, Authentication in an 
Internet Banking Environment 11, http://ithandbook.ffiec.gov/media/28059/frb-sr_05_19.pdf. The FFIEC gave U.S. banks until the end-
of-year 2006 to implement two factor authentication, which is part 
of the level 3 authentication system. Slashdot, Banks to use two 
factor authentication by end of 2006. http://it.slashdot.org/story/05/10/19/2340245/Banks-to-Use-2-factor-Authentication-by-End-of-2006.
    \8\ Among other government entities, the General Services 
Administration (``GSA''), the Internal Revenue Service (``IRS''), 
the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Patent 
and Trademark Office have implemented level 3 for authentication 
purposes. The submission page for the GSA states that all submitted 
digital authentication certificate(s) must be level 3. General 
Services Administration eOffer/eMod, http://eoffer.gsa.gov/eoffer_docs/aces_information.htm.
    The IRS requires level 3 or level 4 authentication. IRS Remote 
Access for Data Centers, http://www.irs.gov/privacy/article/0,,id=208067,00.html. Internal Revenue Service, Modernized e-File 
(MeF) Guide for Software Developers and Transmitters 171, http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4164.pdf.
    The Drug Enforcement Administration asserted that ``the use of . 
. . Assurance Level 3 identity proofing and two-factor 
authentication . . . will provide security commensurate with the 
current paper-based prescription system, and will meet statutory 
obligations of the CSA.'' Drug Enforcement Administration, E-
Authentication Risk Assessment for Electronic Prescriptions for 
Controlled Substances 32, http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/ecomm/e_rx/risk_assessment_dea_218.pdf.
    In 2008, the United States Patent and Trademark Office clarified 
that Level 3 authentication was needed for submission of documents 
other than an initial application. United States Patent and 
Trademark Office, Legal Framework For EFS-Web 4, http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/file/efs/guidance/legalframework_2008.pdf.
    \9\ Title 18 U.S.C. 1001 states as follows:
    (a) Except as otherwise provided in this Section, whoever, in 
any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or 
judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly 
and willfully--(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, 
scheme, or device a material fact; (2) makes any materially false, 
fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or (3) makes 
or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain 
any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; 
shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years 
or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as 
defined in Section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both. 
If the matter relates to an offense under chapter 109A, 109B, 110, 
or 117, or Section 1591, then the term of imprisonment imposed under 
this Section shall be not more than 8 years.

    There are different methods for implementing a ``two-factor'' Level 
3 authentication process, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. In 
this category are key fobs,\10\ digital certificates,\11\ USB 
tokens,\12\ smart

[[Page 38243]]

cards,\13\ biometrics,\14\ out of band options, and virtual tokens. 
After considering cost factors, ease of use, infrastructure 
constraints, and the level of security provided, the Office expects to 
pursue either an out of band option or a virtual token option for 
digital authentication purposes. The Office's proposal is guided by the 
knowledge that banks, insurance companies, and federal agencies (i.e., 
the Internal Revenue Service) have implemented these two methods and 
have found them to be effective.

    \10\ A key fob is a small hardware device with built-in 
authentication mechanisms. The key fob controls access to network 
services and information. The user identifies his or her cell phone 
and/or email address to be used with the fob and the system to which 
he or she is accessing stores the information along with the user ID 
and other details.
    \11\ A digital certificate is an electronic document that uses a 
digital signature to bind a public key with an individual using such 
information as the name of a person or an organization. The 
certificate, obtained from Microsoft, VeriSign, or other firm, can 
be used to verify that a public key belongs to an individual.
    \12\ USB Tokens are designed to securely store an individual's 
digital identity. These portable tokens plug into a computer's USB 
port either directly or using a USB extension cable. When users 
attempt to login to applications via the desktop, VPN/WLAN or Web 
portal, they will be prompted to enter their unique PIN number. If 
the entered PIN number matches the PIN within the USB Token, the 
appropriate digital credentials are passed to the network and access 
is granted. PIN numbers stored on the token are encrypted for added 
    \13\ A smart card, chip card, or integrated circuit card is any 
pocket-sized card with embedded integrated circuits. Smart cards 
support multiple authentication factors (PIN, fingerprint template, 
digitally signed photo), and provide a way to digitally sign and 
encrypt security documents, other data, communications and 
transactions. Smart chip-based credentials allow individuals to use 
their identities safely, quickly and widely and trust that their 
personal information remains private.
    \14\ Biometrics are technologies used for measuring and 
analyzing a person's unique characteristics. There are two types of 
biometrics: behavioral and physical. Behavioral biometrics are 
generally used for verification while physical biometrics can be 
used for either identification or verification. Fingerprint 
biometrics are common for digital authentication purposes and are 
best for devices such as cell phones, USB flash drives, notebook 
computers and other applications where price, size, cost and low 
power are key requirements.

    Virtual tokens. A virtual token is a hash \15\ of unique system 
characteristics paired with the standard username and password. Virtual 
tokens work by sharing the token generation process between a Web site 
and the individual's computer. They have the advantage of not requiring 
the distribution of additional hardware or software. In addition, since 
the user's computer communicates directly with the authenticating Web 
site, virtual tokens are resistant to ``man-in-the-middle attacks'' 
\16\ and similar forms of online fraud. In most respects, virtual 
tokens function like the fob (physical) token noted above, but without 
the added costs. Some of the benefits of a virtual token authentication 
method are that the measure is simple to implement, its software is 
easy to configure, and neither the Office nor the user would require 
special equipment. However, a key drawback to using virtual tokens for 
identity authentication related to SOA forms is that with this method, 
authentication can only be implemented from previously identified 
computers connected at a specific site.

    \15\ A ``hash'' is a unique and permanent code or value 
generated from the contents of an electronic document at the time of 
    \16\ ``A ``man-in-the-middle attack,'' also known as a bucket 
brigade attack, fire brigade attack, or sometimes a Janus attack, is 
a form of active eavesdropping in which the attacker (an 
impersonator) makes independent connections with the victims and 
relays messages between them, making them believe that they are 
talking directly to each other over a private connection. In fact, 
though, the entire conversation is controlled by the attacker, who 
intercepts all messages between the two victims and injects new 

    Out of Band (Email/SMS). Out of band authentication is a security 
confirmation system that provides an added layer of protection to 
validate certain transactions. It uses a separate, discrete pathway 
(``out of band'') to authenticate an individual's identity while 
performing online transactions. It can be performed either by text 
messaging or by email. When a user logs into a particular Web site, a 
numeric code is sent via Short Messaging Service (``SMS'') to either a 
cell phone or email address on record. Upon receiving the code, the 
user must to enter it on a secure Web page to verify his authenticity.
    Some of the benefits of out of band authentication techniques are: 
(1) They are easy to implement; (2) the software is simple to 
configure; and (3) they do not require specialized equipment. Another 
key benefit of out of band authentication is that unlike virtual 
tokens, out of band options do not require a participant to use the 
same computer at the same location, and therefore are more practical 
for some operators who have several different individuals working on a 
particular SOA. Out of band security is tied to a specific user but is 
not tied to a specific computer at a particular physical site. Because 
of this flexibility, the Office believes that the out of band option 
may be a more workable approach to implementing electronic signatures 
for most operators.
    The SOA signature authorization method adopted by the Office must 
also comply with the Federal Information Processing Standards 
(``FIPS''). FIPS are standards developed by the United States federal 
government for use in computer systems by all non-military government 
agencies and by government contractors.\17\ The levels of the digital 
authentication discussed above, which are known as cryptographic 
modules, are outlined in FIPS 140.2. Based on the Office's 
understanding of virtual tokens and out of band methods, the Office 
tentatively concludes that these Level 3 authentication methods conform 
to FIPS.

    \17\ Under the Information Technology Management Reform Act 
(Pub. L. 104-106), the Secretary of Commerce must approve standards 
and guidelines for Federal computer systems that are developed by 
the National Institute of Standards and Technology (``NIST''). See 
NIST Publication 800-63-1, http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-63-1/SP-800-63-1.pdf. These standards and guidelines 
are issued by NIST as Federal Information Processing Standards 
(FIPS) for government-wide use. NIST develops FIPS when there are 
compelling Federal government requirements, such as for security and 
interoperability, and there are no acceptable industry standards or 

B. Proposed Identity Authentication Procedure

    Access to eLi will be predicated on security-based user roles that 
allow each cable operator to control who has the authority to prepare 
various elements of the SOA. Cable operators have advised the Office 
that under the filing system currently in place, often the person who 
signs/certifies the paper SOA is not the same person or persons charged 
with doing other preliminary tasks related to the preparation of the 
SOA and the issuance of the required royalty payment. Under either of 
the proposed Level 3 electronic identity authentication systems, each 
person needing access to the document during the preparation phase 
would be able to gain access to the body of the SOA document, while the 
system would only give electronic access to the certification page of 
the SOA to the person of authority who was pre-designated by the cable 
operator to be the signer. Regardless which authentication method is 
ultimately chosen, ``approval'' of an SOA will mean the simultaneous 
certification and signing of the document by the appropriate official.
    The Office envisions that the digital authentication and signing 
process would work with either a virtual token or an out of band 
system. In closely evaluating the two systems, we concluded that the 
out of band option would be the more practical one, and propose 
adopting that option. Under either Level 3 option, the person(s) 
responsible for preparing an SOA on behalf of a cable system would be 
able to log onto eLi using a previously established user name and 
password, and the system would authenticate each one as a ``preparer.'' 
The same procedure would be followed by any reviewer of the ``draft'' 
SOA, such as a company officer or attorney.
    After the preparers and reviewers have produced a completed version 
of the body of the SOA in eLi, the person charged with signing and 
certifying the document on behalf of the cable system would follow a 
different procedure to electronically approve and sign the document. 
The signer could be a person who prepared the document or could be 
someone else with statutory authority to sign it. Like others with 
access to the SOA, he or she would log onto eLi using a previously 
established user name and

[[Page 38244]]

password, and the system would ``identify'' him or her as the signer 
authorized to complete the certification process. ELi would then send 
the signer a code that provides access for a virtual token or out of 
band authentication of the signer's identity.\18\ Once the signer has 
successfully completed the authentication process, he or she would then 
follow a procedure to obtain, electronically approve, and 
electronically sign the final version of the SOA.

    \18\ If we adopt an out of band authentication method, the 
authentication code would be sent via email correspondence to the 
signer's pre-identified mailbox.

    The Copyright Office anticipates that the system will display a 
``notice of consent to electronic records,'' and the signer would have 
to ``accept'' the terms of the notice of consent. Once accepted, the 
system would display the SOA for approval. The signer would have the 
opportunity to review the SOA, enter an ``S-signature'' \19\ and his 
title, and then complete the transaction by entering a ``key'' to 
indicate that the SOA is being electronically signed.

    \19\ An S-signature is a signature, made by electronic or 
mechanical means, that is inserted between forward slash marks.

    ELi is being designed to save the details about the electronic 
signature process for each SOA filed. It will use the electronic 
``key'' to generate hash from the contents of the electronically filed 
SOA. The hash of the SOA will help ensure that the approved SOA is not 
changed after approval. The electronically-signed document will 
identify the signer of the document, the date the document was signed, 
and the information provided at the time of submission.

C. Proposed Regulations

    To effectuate the process for electronic identity authentication as 
a part of eLi, the Office proposes new regulations governing the 
electronic signing and certification process. Currently, Section 
201.17(e)(14) provides that each Statement of Account filed under 
Section 111 shall contain the handwritten signature of the owner of the 
cable system or a duly authorized agent of the owner, if the owner is 
not a partnership or a corporation; or a partner, if the owner is a 
partnership; or an officer of the corporation, if the owner is a 
corporation. The signature must be accompanied by (1) the printed or 
typewritten name of the person signing the SOA; (2) the date of 
signature; (3) if the owner of the cable system is a partnership or a 
corporation, the title or official position held in the partnership or 
corporation by the person signing the SOA; (4) certification of the 
capacity of the person signing; and (5) a declaration of the veracity 
of the statements of fact contained in the SOA and the good faith of 
the person signing in making such statement of fact.
    Under eLi, an electronic signature will be substituted for the 
handwritten signature, and the other requirements will remain in place 
for filing a SOA. ELi will include a two step authentication procedure 
to identify the person completing the certification process. As 
explained above, the person with authority to certify the accuracy of 
the information in and sign the SOA will access the certification 
Section of the SOA using the two step authentication process, approve 
the form, provide his or her title or official position in the 
organization, and sign the form using an electronic ``S-signature.'' 
This process will also apply to the filing of SOA amendments.
1. Purpose and Scope
    The proposed Section will be placed at the end of Section 201.17(e) 
as a new Section (e)(15), because the electronic signatures on an 
electronically filed SOA will be considered part of the contents of the 
SOA. Proposed Section 201.17(e)(15) sets forth the purpose and scope of 
the new authentication and signature protocol. The regulation addresses 
the criteria under which the Office will consider electronic records 
and electronic signatures to be trustworthy, reliable, and generally 
equivalent to handwritten signatures executed on paper. The regulation 
applies to SOA records and related documents \20\ in electronic form 
that are created, modified, maintained, archived, retrieved, or 
transmitted, under any records requirements set forth in Section 
201.17. Where electronic signatures meet the other requirements of 
Sections 201.17(d) and (e), the Office will consider the electronic 
signatures to be equivalent to full handwritten signatures, initials, 
and other general signings required by Copyright Office regulations. 
Electronic records that meet the requirements of this regulation may be 
used in lieu of paper records unless paper records are specifically 

    \20\ ``Related documents'' would include attachments related to 
the SOA submission and documents submitted in response to a request 
from the Licensing Division.

2. Definitions
    Proposed Section 201.17(e)(15)(i) would codify terms and 
definitions pertinent to electronic document authentication and 
electronic signatures on SOAs. The Office has created six new 
    (A) ``Authentication'' is a cryptographic or other secure 
electronic technique that allows the Copyright Office to authenticate 
the identity of an individual who signs and certifies a Statement of 
Account or related documents and to determine that the Statement or 
related documents were not altered, changed, or modified during their 
transmission to the Copyright Office.
    An ``electronic signature'' is a signature based upon cryptographic 
methods of originator authentication, computed by using a set of rules 
and a set of parameters such that the identity of the signer and the 
integrity of the data can be verified.
    A ``handwritten signature'' is the scripted name or legal mark of 
an individual handwritten by that individual on a document or other 
writing and executed or adopted with the present intention to 
authenticate the signed document or other writing.
    A ``password,'' is confidential authentication information composed 
of a string of characters.
    The term ``token'' refers to an item necessary for user 
identification when used for the authentication of a signature.
3. Signature Parameters
    Proposed Section 201.17(e)(15)(iv) sets forth the functional 
requirements for tying the signer with the electronically filed SOAs. 
The Office proposes that electronically signed electronic records shall 
contain information that clearly indicates the following: (1) The 
printed name of the signer; (2) the date and time the signature was 
executed; and (3) the title of the signee.
    The proposed regulation also specifies that each electronic 
signature is unique to one individual and shall not be reused by, or 
reassigned to, anyone else within the cable system.
4. Authentication Protocols
    Proposed Section 201.17(e)(15)(v) establishes authentication 
components and controls for a Level 3 authentication protocol. Level 3 
authentication requires at least a two factor authentication process 
and is based on proof of possession of a cryptographic key. Typically, 
a key may be used only during a limited time period, i.e., up to 30 
minutes. Each SOA must contain the signature of the appropriate 
certifying official. In some instances, one person will be responsible 
for signing multiple cable SOAs. The proposed system will allow a 
signing official to use a single electronic signature that 
automatically applies multiple signature time stamps

[[Page 38245]]

to a batch of SOAs submitted by the multiple system operator (``MSO'') 
during a single session, as explained below. In this way, a series of 
SOA submissions and electronic signings are made with one ``signing'' 
executed and initiated by the individual during one continuous period 
of controlled system access while the key remains valid. If the key's 
validity expires before all of the multiple SOAs are electronically 
signed with time stamps, a new key may be requested to complete the 
certification and signing process. Section (e)(15)(iii) provides that 
if the signing individual executes one or more electronic signings that 
are not performed during a single, continuous period of controlled 
system access, the signer must reinitiate the authentication process to 
proceed with the signing.
5. Batch Submissions
    Proposed Section 201.17(e)(15)(vi) addresses the submission of 
multiple SOAs by the same cable operator in one group or ``batch'' 
filing. The Office proposes that eLi be configured to enable a cable 
operator to choose to file multiple SOAs with a single ``submit'' key. 
The single electronic signature by the appropriate individual would be 
automatically applied to all SOAs in the batch with a separate 
recognizable electronic signature stamp and time stamp for each 
individual SOA comprising the batch. The proposed rule specifically 
states that batch or bulk filings of electronically filed Statements of 
Account would be permitted so long as the cable operator complies with 
paragraphs (3) and (4) of the regulation.

D. Other Rule Revisions

    The shift from a paper filing system to an electronic filing system 
necessitates an examination of existing rules to see what needs to be 
changed to facilitate the transition. The Office has identified the 
following regulations as being in need of updating. There may be other 
rules that may be affected by the switch to electronic filing, but it 
is difficult to predict all conceivable changes at this time.
1. Accounting Periods and Deposits
    Section 201.17(c)(2) establishes rules regarding accounting periods 
and the depositing of royalties under the cable statutory license. This 
rule needs to be updated to reflect the advent of electronic filing. 
The rule contains a reference SOAs being ``physically received,'' which 
implies that a hard copy version of SOAs must be submitted to the 
Office. An update is necessary to remove the term ``physically'' from 
the regulation, to reduce any confusion.
2. Forms
    Section 201.17(d)(1) explains where the public may obtain a 
physical copy of the Statement of Account form. This reference has been 
in the Office's regulations since 1978, but is irrelevant in an e-
filing environment. During the transition to all-electronic filing, the 
Office proposes to retain this portion of the regulation to accommodate 
any remitters who may need to use the current SOA forms rather than 
immediately file on the new online filing system. The SOA forms are 
currently available either at www.copyright.gov or by contacting the 
Licensing Division at: Library of Congress, U. S. Copyright Office, 
Licensing Division, 101 Independence Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20557-
6400. The Office proposes amending the regulation to reflect this 
different procedure for obtaining hard copy SOA forms, and anticipates 
that such forms will ultimately be phased out.
3. Handwritten Signatures
    Section 201.17(e)(14) sets forth the handwritten signature 
requirements for cable systems filing hard copy Statements of Account. 
The Office understands, as explained above, that even after the 
transition to an e-filing system, there will for some time remain 
certain instances in which cable operators will need to file physical 
versions of the SOA forms. For example, paper filings may still be 
necessary where cable operators must back-file SOAs for accounting 
periods that ended before eLi becomes operational (i.e., covering an 
accounting period such as January 1-June 30, 2011). The Office 
anticipates that there will be very few instances in which this mode of 
filing will still be warranted. Nevertheless, the Office proposes to 
maintain the current handwritten signature requirements, but modify 
Section 201.17(e)(14) to include a reference to the new electronic 
signature requirements.
4. Copies of Statements of Account
    Current Section 201.17(l) requires cable operators to file an 
original and one copy of a Statement of Account with the Licensing 
Division. The Office proposes to retain this requirement to address 
those limited instances where paper filings are still necessary. 
However, the Office plans to amend this rule to clarify that when a 
licensee files a SOA via eLi, only one electronic form need be filed 
with the Licensing Division because digital copies can easily be made 
if the situation so warrants. This will reduce unnecessary filings and 
work burdens.
5. Signatures and Certifications Related to Corrections, Supplemental 
Payments, and Requests for Refunds
    Current Section 217.17(m) outlines the procedures to be followed by 
a cable operator who seeks to correct a SOA, submit a supplemental 
royalty fee payment for deposit, or request a refund of royalty fees 
already paid. Section 217.17(m)(3)(iii)(B) outlines the procedure to be 
followed where the operator's calculation of the royalty fee payable 
for a particular accounting period was incorrect, and the amount 
deposited in the Copyright Office for that period was either too high 
or too low. The regulation requires the cable operator to submit an 
affidavit or statement that indicates that the corrected information is 
signed and certified as made in good faith under penalty of perjury. 
The affidavit or statement must describe the reasons why the royalty 
fee was improperly calculated and include a detailed analysis of the 
proper royalty calculations. The Licensing Division has accepted under 
this provision amended SOAs that have been signed and certified by the 
appropriate party in Space O of the statement, because the 
certification language in Space O is the equivalent of a sworn 
affidavit or statement in accordance with Section 1746 of title 28 of 
the United States Code.
    The Office posits that it would be appropriate to retain this 
provision for requests to correct the royalty calculations made in SOAs 
that were not filed and signed electronically, so long as such 
statements are still accepted by the Office. However, the Office 
proposes to amend the regulation to codify the Division's current 
practice of accepting the filing of a signed and certified amended SOA 
in lieu of the sworn affidavit or statement required by the regulation, 
so long as the amended statement (with any pertinent attachments), 
describes the reasons why the royalty fee was improperly calculated and 
includes a detailed analysis of the proper royalty calculations.
    The Office has also determined that for SOAs that were originally 
filed and signed under the eLi system, the electronic signature 
verification process will satisfy the signature and certification 
requirements set out in the current Section 201.17(m)(3)(iii). As with 
paper submissions, the Office would require that electronic amended 
Statements of Account include, either on the amended statement itself 
or in an

[[Page 38246]]

attached document, an explanation of why the royalty fee was improperly 
calculated and a detailed analysis of the proper royalty calculations.

IV. Conclusion

    The Office hereby seeks comment from the public on issues raised in 
this Notice related to the authentication of electronically filed 
Statements of Accounts, the establishment of proposed rules for 
electronic signatures, and the concomitant rule changes necessary to 
implement the new proposed regulations. If an interested party 
identifies any additional pertinent issues related to the 
authentication of electronic signatures on SOA forms that have been 
filed on eLi, the Office encourages the party to bring those matters to 
its attention.

List of Subjects in 37 CFR Part 201


Proposed Regulation

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Copyright Office 
proposes to amend part 201 of title 37 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations as follows:


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

    Authority:  17 U.S.C. 702.

2. Amend Sec.  201.17 by:
a. Revising the first sentence of paragraph (c)(2), the last sentence 
of (d)(1), paragraphs (e)(14) introductory text and (e)(14)(iii)(A) and 
b. Adding paragraph (e)(15); and
c. Revising paragraphs (l) and (m)(3)(iii)(B).
    The revisions and addition read as follows:

Sec.  201.17  Statements of Account covering compulsory licenses for 
secondary transmissions by cable systems.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) Upon receiving a Statement of Account and royalty fee, the 
Copyright Office will make an official record of the actual date when 
such statement and fee were received in the Copyright Office. * * *
* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (1) * * * Copies of Statement of Account forms are available online 
at www.copyright.gov/forms or upon request to the Library of Congress, 
Copyright Office, Attn: 111 Licenses, 101 Independence Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20559.
* * * * *
    (e) * * *
    (14) The handwritten or electronic signature of:
    (iii) * * *
    (A) The printed name of the person signing the Statement of 
    (B) The date of signature, for handwritten signatures on statements 
that are not filed electronically, or, the electronically created date 
and time stamp for electronically filed and signed statements.
* * * * *
    (15) For signatures on and certification of Statements of Account, 
each statement must include either a handwritten signature or an 
electronic signature of a person designated in paragraph (e)(14) of 
this section. Signing the Statement of Account signifies that the 
signer has examined the statement and certifies that all statements of 
fact contained therein are true, complete, and correct to the best of 
the signer's knowledge, information, and belief, and are made in good 
    (i) For purposes of this section:
    (A) Authentication is a cryptographic or other secure electronic 
technique that allows the Copyright Office to authenticate the identity 
of an individual who signs and certifies a Statement of Account or 
related documents and to determine that the statement or related 
documents were not altered, changed, or modified during their 
transmission to the Copyright Office.
    (B) An electronic signature means a signature based upon 
cryptographic methods of originator authentication, computed by using a 
set of rules and a set of parameters such that the identity of the 
signer and the integrity of the data can be verified. Each electronic 
signature shall be unique to one individual and shall not be reused by, 
or reassigned to, anyone else.
    (C) A handwritten signature is the scripted name or legal mark of 
an individual handwritten by that individual on a document or other 
writing that is executed or adopted with the present intention to 
authenticate the signed document or other writing. The scripted name or 
legal mark, while conventionally applied to paper, may also be applied 
to other devices that capture the name or mark.
    (D) A password is confidential authentication information composed 
of a string of characters.
    (E) A token is an item necessary for user identification when used 
for the authentication of a signature.
    (ii) Each electronic signature shall require electronic 
authentication. Electronic authentication shall require use of both an 
identification code and a password to obtain a random generated key for 
access to the Statement of Account for the purpose of signing the 
    (iii) When an individual executes one or more electronic signings 
not performed during a single, continuous period of controlled system 
access, each new electronic signing or signings shall require the 
signer to reinitiate the authentication process.
    (iv) Electronically signed records shall include information that 
clearly indicates:
    (A) The printed name of the signer;
    (B) The date and time the signature was executed; and
    (C) The title of the signer.
    (v) Each Statement of Account must contain the signature of the 
appropriate certifying official. The verification of the electronic 
signature of that official must be accomplished by use of an 
authentication system determined by the Register of Copyrights. The 
electronic signature authentication process shall be based upon the 
signer/certifier's proof of possession of a cryptographic key that 
would provide that person with access to the certification page of the 
document being electronically signed.
    (vi) A cable official of a multiple system operator may, during a 
single period of controlled system access, use a single electronic 
signature to sign/certify multiple Statements of Account so long as the 
official complies with paragraphs (3) and (4) of this Section. Once 
such official electronically signs the certification page of the first 
in a series of related statements, the electronic licensing system will 
in the same signing session automatically apply multiple electronic 
signatures and time stamps to some or all of the statements in the 
batch. If the cryptographic key expires before all of the multiple 
statements are electronically signed and time stamped, to complete the 
batch certification and signing process the official must request a new 
key and begin a new period of controlled system access.
* * * * *
    (l) Copies of Statements of Account. If a licensee files a 
Statement of Account electronically, the licensee shall file one 
electronic copy of the Statement of Account with the Licensing Division 
of the Copyright Office.
* * * * *
    (m) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (iii) * * *
    (B) In the case of a request filed under paragraph (m)(1)(ii) of 
this Section, where the royalty fee was miscalculated

[[Page 38247]]

and the amount deposited in the Copyright Office was either too high or 
too low,
    (1) If the original Statement of Account was not filed and signed 
electronically, the request must be accompanied by an affidavit under 
the official seal of any officer authorized to administer oaths within 
the United States, a statement in accordance with Section 1746 of title 
28 of the United States, made and signed in accordance with paragraph 
(e)(14) of this Section. In the alternative, the cable operator may 
choose to file an amended Statement of Account signed and certified in 
Space O of the amended statement. The affidavit, statement, or amended 
Statement of Account shall describe the reasons why the royalty fee was 
improperly calculated and include a detailed analysis of the proper 
royalty calculations. If the filing official chooses to file an amended 
Statement of Account, this additional information may be included on 
the Statement of Account itself or may be set out in a written document 
attached to the Statement of Account.
    (2) If the original Statement of Account was filed and signed 
electronically, the filing official of the cable system shall 
electronically sign and file in accordance with paragraph (e)(15) of 
this Section an amended Statement of Account. The amended statement 
shall include on the amended statement itself, or in an attached 
written document, an explanation of why the royalty fee was improperly 
calculated and a detailed analysis of the proper royalty calculations.
* * * * *

    Dated: June 18, 2013.
Maria A. Pallante,
Register of Copyrights.
[FR Doc. 2013-15016 Filed 6-25-13; 8:45 am]