[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 101 (Thursday, May 24, 2018)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 24054-24064]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-11095]


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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Copyright Office

37 CFR Part 201

[Docket No. 2018-4]


Copyright Office Fees

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The Copyright Office is proposing the adoption of a new fee 
schedule. The proposed fees would help the Office recover a significant 
part, though not the whole, of its costs. The Office is providing an 
opportunity to the public to comment on the proposed changes before it 
submits the fee schedule to Congress.

DATES: Written comments must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. 
Eastern Time on July 23, 2018.

ADDRESSES: For reasons of government efficiency, the Copyright Office 
is using the regulations.gov system for the submission and posting of 
public comments in this proceeding. All comments are therefore to be 
submitted electronically through regulations.gov. Specific instructions 
for submitting comments are available on the Copyright Office website 
at https://www.copyright.gov/policy/feestudy2018. If electronic 
submission of comments is not feasible due to lack of access to a 
computer and/or the internet, please contact the Office using the 
contact information below for special instructions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Regan A. Smith, Deputy General 
Counsel, by email at resm@loc.gov, or Julie Saltman, Assistant General 
Counsel, by email at jusa@loc.gov, or either by telephone at 202-707-
8350.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Copyright Office is proposing the 
establishment of a new fee schedule for Copyright Office services. 
Below, the Office describes the legal authority for establishment and 
adjustment of its fees, describes the overarching methodology employed 
by the Office in studying its costs and establishing a new fee 
schedule, and describes and provides justification for each of the 
Office's proposed fee adjustments.

I. Statutory Framework

    The Copyright Act provides for the funding of Copyright Office 
operations through user fees to cover its reasonable costs. The main 
provision authorizing the establishment and collection of such fees is 
17 U.S.C. 708. Section 708(a) specifies that ``[f]ees shall be paid to 
the Register of Copyrights'' for the following services:
    (1) On filing an application under section 408 for registration of 
a copyright claim or for a supplementary registration, including the 
issuance of a certificate of registration if registration is made;
    (2) on filing each application for registration of a claim for 
renewal of a subsisting copyright under section 304(a), including the 
issuance of a certificate of registration if registration is made;
    (3) for the issuance of a receipt for a deposit under section 407;
    (4) for the recordation, as provided by section 205, of a transfer 
of copyright ownership or other document;
    (5) for the filing, under section 115(b), of a notice of intention 
to obtain a compulsory license;
    (6) for the recordation, under section 302(c), of a statement 
revealing the identity of an author of an anonymous or pseudonymous 
work, or for the recordation, under section 302(d), of a statement 
relating to the death of an author;
    (7) for the issuance, under section 706, of an additional 
certificate of registration;
    (8) for the issuance of any other certification;
    (9) for the making and reporting of a search as provided by section 
705, and for any related services;
    (10) on filing a statement of account based on secondary 
transmissions of primary transmissions pursuant to section 119 or 122; 
and
    (11) on filing a statement of account based on secondary 
transmissions of primary transmissions pursuant to section 111.
    Fees for the services described in paragraphs (1) through (9) above 
are established in accordance with the following process. The Register 
must first ``conduct a study of the costs incurred by the Copyright 
Office for the registration of claims, the recordation of documents, 
and the provision of services.'' 17 U.S.C. 708(b)(1). The study must 
``consider the timing of any adjustment in fees and the authority to 
use such fees consistent with the budget.'' Id. On the basis of that 
study, the Register may ``adjust fees'' by regulation ``to not more 
than that necessary to cover the reasonable costs incurred by the 
Copyright Office for'' its services ``plus a reasonable inflation 
adjustment to account for any estimated increase in costs.'' 17 U.S.C. 
708(b)(2). The Register must then prepare a proposed fee schedule and 
submit it with the accompanying economic analysis to Congress. Id. 
708(b)(5). The proposed schedule may go into effect after the end of 
120 days after submitting it to Congress unless, within that 120 day 
period, Congress enacts a law stating in substance that Congress does 
not approve the schedule. Id.
    Importantly, section 708 also requires that fees under section 
708(a)(1)-(9) ``be fair and equitable and give due consideration to the 
objectives of the copyright system.'' Id. 708(b)(4). This mandate makes 
clear that the Copyright Office must review more than the reasonable 
costs of services provided; instead, the Office must take into account 
the public interest in the nation's copyright scheme. In assessing 
these fees, the Register thus has ``wide discretion to adjust Copyright 
Office fees by regulation.'' Melville B. Nimmer & David Nimmer, Nimmer 
on Copyright, secs. 7.24, 7-232 (2013).
    The Copyright Act also authorizes the Register of Copyrights to 
establish fees for services other than those listed in paragraphs (1) 
through (9) of section 708(a). Though not subject to the procedural 
requirements of section 708(b), these fees are often evaluated and 
adjusted as part of the fee study mandated by section 708(b)--as is the 
case here. First, paragraphs (10) and (11) of section 708 provide that 
the Copyright Office's Licensing Division may charge filing fees for 
the statements of account that cable and satellite companies must 
submit under the statutory licenses in sections 111, 119, and 122 for 
the secondary transmissions of primary broadcast television 
transmissions. 17 U.S.C. 708(a)(10), (11).

[[Page 24055]]

These statement of account filing fees must ``be reasonable and may not 
exceed one-half of the cost necessary to cover reasonable expenses 
incurred by the Copyright Office for the collection and administration 
of the statements of account and any royalty fees deposited with such 
statements.'' Id. 708(a). Second, section 708 authorizes the Register 
to set fees for any ``other services,'' such as ``preparing copies of 
Copyright Office records,'' but these fees must be ``based on the cost 
of providing the service.'' Id. 708(a). Finally, various other 
provisions of the Copyright Act outside section 708 authorize the 
establishment of fees for specific services; all require fees to be set 
based on costs.\1\
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    \1\ See, e.g., 17 U.S.C. 104A(e)(1)(C) (``The Register of 
Copyrights is authorized to fix reasonable fees based on the costs 
of receipt, processing, recording, and publication of notices of 
intent to enforce a restored copyright and corrections thereto.''); 
id. 512(c)(2) (requiring the Register to ``maintain a current 
directory of agents'' designated to receive notifications of claimed 
infringement, and authorizing the ``payment of a fee by service 
providers to cover the costs of maintaining the directory'').
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    In 1997, Congress amended section 708 specifically to grant the 
Register both wide discretion and permanent authority to set fees for 
the Office. See Public Law 105-80, 111 Stat. 1529, 1532 (1997); H. Rep. 
No. 105-25, at 16 (Mar. 17, 1997). Accordingly, the fee statute 
generally instructs the Register to set fees at a level that covers the 
Copyright Office's overall costs.\2\ In fulfilling that direction, the 
Office may set fees that account for indirect costs of providing 
services, and to use fee revenue from some services to offset losses 
from others for which the fees are kept low to encourage the public to 
take advantage of the service.
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    \2\ See 17 U.S.C. 708(b)(1), (2) (providing that the Register 
``may . . . adjust fees to not more than that necessary to cover the 
reasonable costs incurred by the Copyright Office'' for ``the 
registration of claims, the recordation of documents, and the 
provision of services''). In only limited circumstances does the 
statute specify that the fees for a specific service may not exceed 
the cost of providing that service. For instance, the statute 
specifies that the statement of account filing fees under paragraphs 
(10) and (11) of section 708(a) ``may not exceed one-half of the 
cost necessary to cover reasonable expenses incurred by the 
Copyright Office for the collection and administration of the 
statements of account.''
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II. Cost Study

    Congress first gave the Register of Copyrights the authority to set 
and adjust Copyright Office fees in 1997. 17 U.S.C. 708(b) (1997). 
Since then, the Office has adjusted its fees every three to five years. 
The last such adjustment went into effect in May 2014.\3\
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    \3\ See 79 FR 15910 (Mar. 24, 2014).
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    The Office initiated a new cost study in June 2017, contracting 
with a private accounting and consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton 
(``Booz Allen''), to analyze the Office's current as well as any 
expected future costs.\4\ In addition to studying the Office's costs, 
Booz Allen examined the Office's current fee structure, and provided an 
initial proposed fee schedule aimed to meet the Office's cost-recovery 
goals, as well as a fee modeling tool that the Office could use to 
adjust Booz Allen's initial proposed fee schedule to account for other 
policy goals.\5\ Booz Allen's fee model takes into account price 
elasticity of demand. The elasticity estimates are based on an analysis 
of the Office's data on price elasticity as well as an independent 
elasticity analysis based on raw data from the Office. Booz Allen's 
study is provided on the rulemaking web page, and describes in detail 
the methodology employed to assess the Office's costs and formulate the 
initial proposed fee schedule.\6\
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    \4\ See 17 U.S.C. 708(b)(2) (permitting fees to ``account for 
any estimated increase in costs'').
    \5\ See 17 U.S.C. 708(b)(4) (``Fees established under this 
subsection shall be fair and equitable and give due consideration to 
the objectives of the copyright system'').
    \6\ See Booz Allen Hamilton, 2017 Fee Study Report (Dec. 2017), 
available at https://www.copyright.gov/policy/feestudy2018 (``Booz 
Allen Study'').
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1. Copyright Office Costs

    In assessing the costs of the Office's various functions, Booz 
Allen used an industry-standard, activity-based costing (ABC) model, 
using overhead, compensation, and volume as primary cost drivers; the 
particulars of that model are detailed in the Booz Allen Study.\7\
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    \7\ Booz Allen Study at 7-8.
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    Some of the key data Booz Allen used in its study was from Fiscal 
Year 2016, although more current data was available for certain other 
variables, like salaries and employee estimates of time spent 
performing fee-related tasks. As the Booz Allen Study acknowledged, 
however, after Fiscal Year 2016 the Office ``engaged in a variety of 
regulatory reforms that are projected to increase the efficiency of 
various registration, recordation, or licensing activities,'' and that 
``[b]ecause the ABC model is necessarily based on retrospective data, 
Booz Allen understands that the Office may choose to make adjustments 
to the cost-based fee recommendations to account for predicted changes 
in activity efficiency.'' \8\
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    \8\ Booz Allen Study at 5.
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    Booz Allen's cost assessment also included anticipated expenses 
associated with the Office's ongoing information technology and 
business process modernization efforts. These efforts are generally 
described in two documents. In February 2016, the Copyright Office 
released its Provisional Information Technology Modernization Plan and 
Cost Analysis (``Provisional IT Plan'').\9\ Then, in September 2017, 
the Library of Congress and Copyright Office jointly issued a Modified 
U.S. Copyright Office Provisional IT Modernization Plan (``Modified IT 
Plan'') describing a centralized model for updating the Office's IT 
systems.\10\ Based on data compiled by the Library of Congress for the 
modified provisional IT plan, the Library's Office of the Chief 
Information Officer and the Copyright Office have assessed the costs of 
modernization over the next five years to be approximately $12-$15 
million per year.
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    \9\ U.S. Copyright Office, Provisional Information Technology 
Modernization Plan and Cost Analysis (Feb. 29, 2016), available at 
http://www.copyright.gov/reports/itplan/technology-report.pdf.
    \10\ Library of Congress & U.S. Copyright Office, Modified U.S. 
Copyright Office Provisional IT Modernization Plan (Sept. 1, 2017), 
available at http://www.copyright.gov/reports/itplan/modified-modernization-plan.pdf.
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    In total, the Booz Allen study projected the Office's base year 
costs to be approximately $67.7 million, and estimated that costs will 
increase by approximately 1.8% in each subsequent year for the next 
five years, assuming no staffing changes. A detailed list of the five-
year costs is found at Appendix A of the Booz Allen Study.\11\
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    \11\ Booz Allen Study at 23.
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2. Booz Allen's Initial Proposed Fee Schedule

    In establishing a fee schedule, Booz Allen began with the Office's 
cost-recovery goals. Importantly, the Office has never recovered its 
full costs from user fees. Instead, the Office has traditionally 
recovered approximately 60% of its costs through fees; the remainder is 
provided through appropriated dollars from the U.S. treasury. 
Consistent with the Office's historical practice, the targeted cost 
recovery rate in the Booz Allen study was 60% for all costs, except 
those associated with IT modernization efforts. With respect to 
modernization costs, the Modified IT Plan noted that ``[p]ublic 
comments to the original Provisional IT Plan were generally supportive 
of increased fees for enhanced technological services.'' \12\ At the 
same time, ``public comments did not support Copyright IT modernization 
being fully fee-funded; in fact, many noted that it was premature to 
determine a fees/appropriated dollar

[[Page 24056]]

ratio and endorsed the notion that taxpayer support has an important 
role in modernizing Office IT systems.'' \13\ Anticipating that 
Congress will continue to support modernization efforts through 
increased appropriations, the Office's targeted cost recovery for 
modernization costs is 50%. (The costs associated with modernizing the 
Licensing Division's systems, however, were not considered when 
calculating the Licensing Division's fees.)
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    \12\ Modified IT Plan at 31.
    \13\ Id.
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    The Office is often asked why it does not set a goal of full-cost 
recovery from fees. The answer is that the Office's primary services--
including copyright registration and recordation--are mostly voluntary, 
and the significantly higher fees needed for total cost recovery would 
result in less use of those services to the detriment of the public 
interest in a robust registration system. In economics terms, demand 
for these services is elastic. Simply put, when fees are set too high, 
potential users--including non-profit or non-commercial users--will be 
unable or unwilling to pay and simply will stop participating at all 
and the public record will suffer.
    Booz Allen's fee model accounted for the price elasticity of demand 
for the Office's services. As Booz Allen noted, ``[t]he vast majority 
of the Office's revenue, 86.6%, is generated from fees deemed 
elastic.'' \14\ Booz Allen performed its own elasticity analysis using 
data on copyright registration volume, fee revenue, and fee changes 
from 1986 to 2018, and validated the resulting figures by referencing 
economic literature, econometric studies of European trademarks, and 
the fee setting report of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.\15\ 
That analysis found an elasticity measure of -0.32 for the Office's 
primary services, including registration and recordation. The analysis 
predicts, for instance, that ``raising the fee for recordation of a 
document from $105 to $125 would lead to a projected decrease of 662 
documents recorded, a decline of 6%.'' \16\
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    \14\ Booz Allen Study at 8.
    \15\ Id. at 9.
    \16\ Id. at 8.
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    Significantly, using this validated measure of elasticity, Booz 
Allen concluded that the goal of full-cost recovery was ``impossible to 
achieve.'' \17\ Booz Allen instead calculated that the maximum 
obtainable cost recovery for all of the Office services was 70.4%, with 
annual revenue of $47,735,256.\18\ At this level of revenue, the Office 
would not be able to recover its full costs even if the whole cost of 
IT modernization were funded through taxpayer dollars. Moreover, 
achieving this rate of cost recovery would be significantly detrimental 
to the public interest--it would cause a 25% drop in use of Office 
services, including registration and recordation.\19\ Thus, raising the 
fees to maximize revenue (even short of full cost recovery) would 
result in a far less robust public record of copyrighted works, and 
would undermine ``the objectives of the copyright system.'' 17 U.S.C. 
708(b)(4).
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    \17\ Booz Allen Hamilton, U.S. Copyright Office, Fee Study, 
Questions and Answers (Dec. 2017), available at https://www.copyright.gov/policy/fees2018 (``Booz Allen Q&A'').
    \18\ Booz Allen Q&A at 3.
    \19\ Id.
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    At the same time, maintaining fees at a flat level is not an option 
either, given the increase in Office costs, including the cost of IT 
modernization. As a result, to maintain a steady level of cost 
recovery, Booz Allen recommended a weighted average increase of 38% to 
existing fees across all service categories.\20\
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    \20\ Booz Allen Study at 2-3.
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    In recommending individual fees, Booz Allen reviewed the cost per 
transaction calculated in the ABC model, and then ``adjusted [it] to 
account for external considerations,'' including the Office's guidance 
regarding the relative demand for Office services.\21\ To optimize fee 
recovery, Booz Allen's schedule recommended below-cost fees for 
services with relatively elastic demand, and above-cost fees for 
certain services with relatively inelastic demand. This approach to 
cross-subsidizing fees is consistent with the authorizing statutes and 
Congress's intent in granting the Copyright Office broad fee-setting 
authority.\22\ Booz Allen's initial proposed fee schedule can be found 
in the Booz Allen Study.\23\
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    \21\ Id. at 7.
    \22\ See 17 U.S.C. 708(a), (b) (permitting establishment of fees 
``to cover the reasonable costs incurred by the Copyright Office'' 
for ``the registration of claims, the recordation of documents, and 
the provision of services'').
    \23\ Booz Allen Study at 23-28.
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III. The Office's Schedule of Proposed Fees

    The Office has independently evaluated and adjusted the Booz Allen 
schedule, which focused principally on the economic analysis, based on 
our assessment of fairness, equity, the objectives of the Copyright Act 
\24\ and the Office's policy goals, as well as general guidance from 
the Office of Management and Budget,\25\ and the Government 
Accountability Office.\26\
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    \24\ See 17 U.S.C. 708(b)(4) (requiring that fees for services 
specified in paragraphs (1)-(9) of subsection (a) ``be fair and 
equitable and give due consideration to the objectives of the 
copyright system'').
    \25\ Office of Mgmt. and Budget, Circular No. A-25 (2017), 
available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Circular-025.pdf.
    \26\ U.S. Gov't Accountability Office, Federal User Fees: A 
Design Guide (May 2008), available at http://www.gao.gov/assets/210/203357.pdf.
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    Critically, the Office analyzed potential changes to fees under 
708(a)(1)-(9) to ensure that they are ``fair and equitable and give due 
consideration to the objectives of the copyright system,'' as required 
by the statute. The voluntary registration and recordation system is 
vital to a number of national objectives. They facilitate the 
marketplace for licensing and other valuable uses of works, as well as 
business transactions that rely on protection of copyrighted works. 
Additionally, while the system is voluntary in that copyright 
protection exists independent of registration, registration provides 
crucial benefits for copyright owners. Before bringing a lawsuit for 
infringement of a U.S. work, for example, a copyright owner is required 
to receive either a registration or refusal from the Office. And 
copyright owners must obtain a timely registration to qualify for 
certain legal presumptions and to seek statutory damages and attorney's 
fees in litigation. Ensuring that most copyright owners can register 
their works thus is very important to providing access to judicial 
remedies. Due to the public interest inherent in the copyright system, 
the Office struck a balance between being a prudent fiduciary of public 
funds and creating a fee schedule that supports the Office's policy 
goal of promoting creativity and protecting creators' rights.
    The following sections set forth the Office's proposed fees, and 
explain any changes from current fees. In addition, the Office has 
provided its revised fee model summary on the rulemaking page, which 
was developed using Booz Allen's fee modeling tool, and provides 
additional detail regarding the bases for the proposed fee schedule. 
Although the Office has not set forth specific proposed rule language, 
the proposed changes would be made to the fee tables that currently 
appear in 37 CFR 201.3. When it promulgates the final rule, the Office 
will reorganize the fee tables in that provision to make them easier to 
read, including by deleting the unnecessary definitions that appear in 
section 201.3(b).
    Overall, the Office has determined that fees should increase an 
average of 41% to account for inflationary

[[Page 24057]]

increases and the expected cost of information technology modernization 
over the next several years. The Office anticipates the higher fees 
will decrease overall fee processing by approximately 14% at least 
temporarily, but that this decrease will be offset by a more 
appropriate level of cost recovery. In total, the Office estimates that 
revenues generated by these proposed fees will be roughly $41 million 
per year.

A. Registration, Recordation and Related Services

1. Basic Registrations
    Section 708(a)(1) requires the payment of fees ``on filing each 
application under section 408 for registration of a copyright claim or 
for a supplementary registration, including the issuance of a 
certificate of registration if registration is made.'' 17 U.S.C. 
708(a)(1). The Office proposes the following increases to the fees for 
basic registration applications, to be codified in 37 CFR 201.3(a).

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                                                                                                    Calculated
                       Basic registrations                         Current fees    Proposed fees      cost of
                                                                        ($)             ($)         service ($)
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(1) Registration of a claim in an original work of authorship:
    Standard Application (electronic only)......................              55              75              90
    Single Application (electronic only)........................              35              55              86
    Paper Application...........................................              85             125             118
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    As the Booz Allen study noted, basic registration applications 
produce the highest volume of all the Office's fee generating services; 
at the same time, examination of those applications is, in aggregate, 
the costliest activity the Office performs.\27\ Currently, cost 
recovery for single and standard applications stands at 51%,\28\ and 
has fallen well below the target established during the prior fee study 
of 71% for electronic claims and 66% for paper applications.\29\ As 
explained, however, the Office cannot establish fees at a level that 
recovers full costs, because demand for these registration services is 
elastic.
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    \27\ Booz Allen Study at 13.
    \28\ Id.
    \29\ U.S. Copyright Office, Proposed Schedule and Analysis of 
Copyright Fees to Go Into Effect on or About April 1, 2014, at 15-16 
(Nov. 13, 2013), available at https://www.copyright.gov/docs/newfees/USCOFeeStudy-Nov13.pdf (``2014 Fee Study'').
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    While in the past, the fee for electronic applications was kept 
artificially low to incentivize electronic filings,\30\ today the vast 
majority of registration applications are now filed electronically.\31\ 
The current cost of processing and examining a Standard Application 
($91) far outstrips the current fee ($55). The same is true of the 
Single Application, which has a cost ($86) not significantly different 
from the Standard Application. In this context, the Office believes it 
is appropriate to return the fees for electronic filing to a level more 
commensurate with the Office's costs, while not unduly disincentivizing 
the registration of copyrights.
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    \30\ 2014 Fee Study at 16 (noting that ``after the launch of the 
eCO system, the current fee of $35 was lowered from the then-
existing fee of $45 to incentivize electronic filings'').
    \31\ See U.S. Copyright Office, Registration Processing Times, 
https://www.copyright.gov/registration/docs/processing-times-faqs.pdf (last visited Apr. 5, 2018).
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    To begin to close the shortfall, the Office is proposing to 
increase fees to $75 for Standard Applications to achieve an 83% cost 
recovery based on current costs. In addition, the Office proposes 
raising the fee for the electronic Single Application, a special 
application intended for individual creators who file the simplest 
types of claims, to $55, which achieves a 52% cost recovery based on 
current costs. The latter fee thus represents a significant subsidy 
intended for smaller creators.
    Turning to the paper application, the Office believes it continues 
to be appropriate to differentiate between paper and electronic 
applications, given the substantially higher costs of processing paper 
applications, and as a means of incentivizing use of the electronic 
system. The Office accordingly proposes a fee of $125 for paper 
applications.
    The Office has concluded that these proposed fees are ``fair and 
equitable, and give due consideration to the objectives of the 
copyright system.'' 17 U.S.C. 708(b)(4).
2. Group Registrations
    In general, each registration application should be limited to a 
unitary ``work of authorship.'' Under the Copyright Act, however, the 
Register of Copyrights may allow groups of related works to be 
registered with one application and one filing fee--a procedure known 
as ``group registration.'' See 17 U.S.C. 408(c)(1). These fees are also 
authorized by 17 U.S.C. 708(a)(1). The Office proposes the following 
schedule of fees, to be codified in 37 CFR 201.3(b).

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                                                                                                    Calculated
              Group registrations                       Current fees ($)           Proposed fees      cost of
                                                                                        ($)         service ($)
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(2) Group registration of contributions to      85..............................              85              71
 periodicals.
(3) Group registration of serials, per issue,
 with a minimum of 2 issues:
    (i) Electronic filing.....................  New Fee.........................              35              76
    (ii) Paper filing (Form SE/Group).........  25..............................              70             101
(4) Group registration of newspapers/
 newsletters:
    (i) Electronic filing for group newspapers  80 (group newspapers)...........              95              64
     and group newsletters.
                                                New Fee (group newsletters).
    (ii) Paper filing for group newsletters     80..............................             125              88
     (Form G/DN).
(3) Group registration of unpublished           New Fee.........................             100             284
 photographs (GRUPH) (up to 750 published
 photographs).
(4) Group registration of published             \32\ 65 (paper).................             100             284
 photographs (GRPPH) (up to 750 published       55 (electronic).................
 photographs).

[[Page 24058]]

 
(5) Group registration of updates and           65 (paper)......................             250        \33\ N/A
 revisions to photographic databases.           55 (electronic).................
(6) Group registration of updates and           85..............................             500             694
 revisions to non-photographic databases.
(7) Group registration of unpublished works...  New Fee.........................              85        \34\ N/A
(8) Group registration of secure test items...  New Fee.........................              75             883
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\32\ The paper option for group registration of published photographs was eliminated effective February 20,
  2018. See 83 FR 2542 (Jan. 18, 2018).
\33\ Insufficient volume to calculate cost.
\34\ As discussed below, processing costs for this option are predicted to be equivalent to the processing cost
  of group registration of contributions to periodicals.

    As the data above suggests, processing group registrations can be 
costly and time-consuming. Indeed, the Office's cost recovery for 
several categories of group registrations has been quite low. For 
example, based on the data above, the Office currently recovers only 
12% of the cost of group registration of updates and revisions to non-
photographic databases through fees for that service. The high cost of 
processing group registrations is compounded by the fact that group 
registrations are the second highest volume service the Copyright 
Office provides according to the Booz Allen Study. Thus, the Office 
proposes increasing many of the group registration fees to achieve a 
higher rate of cost recovery. The Office understands the demand for 
many of these services to be relatively inelastic, especially because, 
on a per-work basis, the fees are relatively low. Accordingly, 
achieving a higher rate of recovery should not result in a significant 
decrease in registrations.
    The Office has proposed fees that are fair and equitable, and give 
due consideration to the objectives of the copyright system. The Office 
recommends keeping the current fee for group registration of 
contributions to periodicals the same ($85). The Office estimates that 
this service costs $71, but maintaining the fee at $85 allows the 
Office to achieve less than full cost recovery in other categories of 
fees.
    The Office proposes adopting two fees for group registration of 
serials: A new fee of $35 per issue for electronic applications and a 
fee of $70 per issue for paper applications (which is an increase from 
the current $25 fee for all applications). The calculated cost for 
electronic applications is $76, and the cost for paper applications is 
$101. The two-tiered fee structure reflects the fact that paper 
applications are more costly to process than electronic applications. 
The slightly higher fees should recover more of the costs of providing 
this service without greatly decreasing demand. Charging a higher 
amount for paper applications will also encourage the use of the 
electronic application, which is more efficiently processed.\35\
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    \35\ The Office has recently published a notice of proposed 
rulemaking to update the regulations governing group registration of 
serials; among other things, the rule would eliminate the paper 
registration option. 83 FR 22896 (May 17, 2018). Accordingly, if 
that rule is finalized prior to the adoption of a new fee schedule, 
the separate paper application fee would not be adopted.
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    The Office also proposes somewhat higher fees for group 
registration of newspapers and group registration of newsletters. 
Currently the filing fee is $80. The estimated cost of processing the 
paper applications for group registration of newsletters is $88,\36\ 
while the Office estimates that electronic applications for this 
service cost $64 to process.\37\ The Office proposes raising the fee 
for electronic applications for group registration of newspapers and 
newsletters to $95. The $95 fee provides sufficient cost recovery and 
should not result in a significant decrease in registrations. The 
Office proposes raising the fee for paper applications for group 
registration of newsletters to $125.\38\ This increase achieves full 
cost recovery and should not significantly decrease registrations. Due 
to the relative inelasticity of the demand for these services, the 
Office anticipates that the excess revenue from these fees can 
subsidize some of the more costly group registrations for which full 
cost recovery is impracticable. Indeed, the group registration option 
for newspapers and newsletters provides significant cost savings for 
publishers, who can pay one fee for group registrations rather than 
file multiple separate registrations per month.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \36\ The paper application for group registration of newspapers 
was eliminated in a rule that became effective on March 1, 2018. See 
83 FR 4144 (Jan. 30, 2018). Though the Office has insufficient data 
to calculate the costs of applications for group registration of 
newspapers, the Office estimates that the costs for this category of 
group registrations would be similar to those associated with group 
registrations of newsletters.
    \37\ The fee for electronic forms is lower because it does not 
include the per-transaction cost incurred by the Receipt Analysis 
and Control (RAC) department that is included in the paper 
application fee. This is because RAC's involvement in processing 
electronic forms is minimal. RAC is responsible for scanning and 
ingesting the information in paper applications.
    \38\ The Office has recently published a notice of proposed 
rulemaking to update the regulations governing group registration of 
newsletters; among other things, the rule would eliminate the paper 
registration option. 83 FR 22902 (May 17, 2018). Accordingly, if 
that rule is finalized before the adoption of a new fee schedule, 
the separate paper application fee would not be adopted.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Office also proposes increased filing fees for group 
registration of published photographs (``GRPPH'') and group 
registration of unpublished photographs (``GRUPH''), both of which use 
the Office's electronic registration system. These services currently 
are provided for a $55 fee. The Office estimates, however, that the 
cost for providing each of these services is $284. The Office 
accordingly proposes offering both services for $100. The Office 
believes these new fees will achieve greater cost recovery while 
maintaining a relatively low fee on a per-work basis for photographers. 
Specifically, the per-photograph cost is currently $0.07 if the 
applicant registers the maximum number of photographs (i.e., 750). The 
proposed new fee raises that cost only slightly to $0.12 per photograph 
if the maximum number of works are registered.
    The Office is proposing significant fee increases for the group 
registration options that apply to databases. The Office currently 
charges $85 per application for group registration of updates and 
revisions to non-photographic databases, and $65 (paper application) or 
$55 (electronic application) per application for group registration of 
updates and revisions to photographic databases. These applications are 
quite costly to process, in part because there is no limit on the 
number of works that may be included in each submission. The Office 
calculates that applications for group

[[Page 24059]]

registration of updates and revisions to non-photographic databases 
cost $694 to process. Although there was not sufficient volume to 
calculate the exact cost of processing applications for group 
registration of updates and revisions to photographic databases, the 
Office estimates that the cost is equivalent to that for non-
photographic databases, because both permit an unlimited number of 
works to be registered in a single application. For example, the Office 
noted in its final rule for Group Registration of Photographs, 83 FR 
2542 (Jan. 18, 2018), that ``at least one database provider registered 
57,040 photographs between 2012 and 2016.'' Id. at 2544 n.15 
(explaining that this provider filed 29 applications during this period 
with each containing an average of 1966 photographs). Accordingly, the 
Office proposes increasing the fees for both services to achieve better 
cost recovery. Specifically, the Office proposes a $500 fee for group 
registration of updates and revisions to non-photographic databases. 
This registration option can be used to register up to three months' 
worth of content, which means that the per-day cost over the course of 
three months is only $5.55. The Office proposes increasing the fee for 
group registration of updates and revisions to photographic databases 
to $250. The Office also proposes several fees for new group 
registration options that have recently been or will soon be 
established through rulemakings. The Office proposes a fee of $75 for 
group registration of secure test items. This service is estimated to 
cost $883; however, the Office set this fee to be the same as the 
Standard Application, and anticipates that the cost will be covered to 
some degree by the secure test examination fee, discussed below. The 
Office has also recently proposed a new group registration option for 
unpublished works,\39\ and expects to finalize that rulemaking before 
the new fee schedule is finalized. The Office also is considering 
expanding the categories of works eligible for group registration 
through rulemaking in the near future. The Office expects to propose 
that the fee for these services be $85, which is derived from the 
analogous fee for group registration of contributions to periodicals, 
which is expected to impose approximately similar costs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \39\ See 82 FR 47415 (Oct. 12, 2017).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

3. Other Registration Services
    The Office provides other, less commonly used registration 
services, as authorized by various provisions of the Copyright Act. The 
Office proposes the following schedule of fees for such services, to be 
codified in 37 CFR 201.3(b).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                    Calculated
         Other registration service                    Current fees ($)            Proposed fees      cost of
                                                                                        ($)         service ($)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(8) Supplementary registration:
    (i) Electronic filing...................  New fee...........................             100             365
    (ii) Paper filing (Form CA).............  130...............................             150             413
(9) Renewal registrations:
    (i) Form RE.............................  100...............................             125             148
    (ii) Addendum to Form RE................  100...............................             100              67
(10) Preregistration of certain unpublished   140...............................             200              71
 works.
(11) Registration of vessel designs/
 Correction of an existing registration for
 a vessel design:
    (i) Form D-VH...........................  400...............................             500           6,528
    (ii) Form DC............................  100...............................             100              71
(12) Registration of mask work (Form MW)....  120...............................             150           2,176
(13) Registration of a claim in a restored    85................................             100             380
 copyright (Form GATT).
(14) Secure test examination fee (per staff   250...............................             250             900
 member, per hour).
(15) Request for reconsideration (per
 claim):
    (i) First appeal........................  250...............................             350             729
    (ii) Second appeal......................  500...............................             700           4,470
(16) Special handling surcharge for
 registration:
    (i) Expedited processing of application.  800...............................            1000              67
    (ii) Fee for each non-expedited claim     50................................              50        \40\ N/A
     using the same deposit.
(17) Full term retention of published
 registration deposit:
    (i) Physical deposit....................  540...............................             540             360
    (ii) Electronic deposit.................  New Fee...........................             220             220
(18) Request for special relief from deposit  New Fee...........................              85              78
 requirements.
(19) Voluntary cancellation of registration.  New Fee...........................             150             370
(20) Matching unidentified deposit to         New Fee...........................              40             389
 deposit ticket claim.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Several of these registration services are low volume services with 
a high cost per transaction, reflecting their time-consuming nature. 
The Office generally proposes raising such fees to achieve higher cost 
recovery. For example, the fee for both paper and electronic 
supplementary registration is currently $130, though the cost per 
transaction is $413 for the paper form and $365 for the electronic 
form.\41\ The Office accordingly proposes setting the fee for the paper 
supplementary registration application (Form CA) at $150, and the fee 
for electronic supplementary registration at $100 to achieve somewhat 
better cost recovery.\42\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \40\ Insufficient volume to calculate costs.
    \41\ As of July 2017, supplementary registration generally must 
be effectuated through the electronic application, although for some 
works the paper form (Form CA) must still be filed. See 37 CFR 
202.6(e)(1)-(3).
    \42\ The fee for electronic forms is lower because it does not 
include per-transaction cost incurred by the RAC department that is 
included in the Form CA fee, given that RAC's involvement in 
processing electronic forms is minimal. RAC is responsible for 
scanning and ingesting the information in paper applications.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There were approximately 500 renewal registrations filed in FY 
2016, each of which cost the Office $148 to process. The Office 
accordingly proposes raising the current fee for Form RE from $100 to 
$125. The Office proposes keeping the fee for the addendum to the 
renewal application at $100. Although processing an

[[Page 24060]]

addendum costs the Office $67, this is a relatively low volume service 
and the excess funds allow for greater overall cost recovery.
    Although it costs the Office $71 to process applications for 
preregistration of unpublished works, the Office proposes raising the 
fee for this service from $140 to $200 to offset the losses associated 
with some of the Office's other services. The likely stakeholder group 
affected by this increase is less price sensitive, and the works at 
issue are largely commercially viable. This is consistent with the 
Register's discretionary authority to use fee revenue to offset losses 
to further ``the objectives of the copyright system,'' 17 U.S.C. 
708(b)(4), as discussed above.
    Registrations of vessel hull designs (Form D-VH) are relatively low 
volume, and cost the Office $6,528 to process, so the Office proposes 
raising the fee for such a registration from $400 to $500, although 
this only achieves an 7% cost recovery. The Office proposes keeping the 
fee for correcting a vessel design registration (Form DC) at $100--
although it costs the Office $71 to process--to offset some of the lost 
revenue. The Office spends $2,176 to process a registration of a mask 
work (Form MW), so the Office proposes raising the fee from $120 to 
$150 to achieve slightly higher cost recovery. The Office will examine 
its processes to determine how to more efficiently process vessel hull 
design and mask work registrations.
    For a registration of a claim in a restored copyright (Form GATT), 
the Office proposes raising the fee from $85 to $100 to better cover 
the $380 cost of this service.
    For the time being, the Office will maintain the secure test 
examination fee (per staff member per hour) at $250, although it costs 
the Office $900 per staff member per hour. The Office recently adopted 
an interim rule establishing a group registration option that lets 
applicants submit an unlimited number of secure test items,\43\ and the 
Office is assessing the burdens this new procedure is having on the 
operations of the Registration Program. The Office may adjust this fee 
in a later rulemaking based on this assessment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \43\ 82 FR 52224, 52226-27 (Nov. 13, 2017).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Office provides an opportunity for a user to appeal a denied 
registration, which is called a request for reconsideration. Because 
the work necessary to process these requests is more time consuming 
than current pricing reflects, the Office proposes raising the fee for 
the first request for an appeal from $250 to $350 per claim, to offset 
some of the $729 cost associated with this service, which requires work 
by attorney-advisors. The second request for an appeal involves 
extensive work by senior attorneys at the agency, resulting in a cost 
to the Office of $4,470 per appeal. Accordingly the Office proposes 
raising the fee for a second appeal from $500 to $700 per claim.
    The Office set several new fees as part of this fee study. The 
Office is authorized to grant special relief from the registration 
deposit requirements in certain circumstances,\44\ and the fee for such 
requests is set at $85. Because this is a new fee, Booz Allen assessed 
the time spent on this activity per employee \45\ and the number of 
requests per year; analyzing that data under the ABC model, Booz Allen 
estimated that this service costs the Office $78. The fee therefore 
seeks to achieve full cost recovery. Booz Allen used this same method 
to calculate the cost per transaction for voluntary cancellation of 
registration--a process by which the Office may cancel the registration 
of invalid claims \46\--at $370, largely because of the involvement of 
senior attorneys within the Registration Program in this process. The 
Office proposes setting this new fee at $150 to achieve a reasonable 
cost recovery for this service.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \44\ See U.S. COPYRIGHT OFFICE, COMPENDIUM OF U.S. COPYRIGHT 
OFFICE PRACTICES, sec. 1508.8 (3d ed. 2017).
    \45\ These requests are reviewed by attorney advisors.
    \46\ COMPENDIUM (THIRD) 1807.1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Office also proposes a fee of $40 per half-hour for the service 
of matching ``deposit ticket'' claims with unidentified deposits. A 
``deposit ticket'' claim is one where the applicant submits an online 
application and filing fee, but is separately required to submit a 
physical deposit copy of the work to the Office. When sending the 
physical deposit copy, applicants are required to attach a system-
generated shipping slip to the copy, so that the Office can quickly 
match the deposit copy to the application.\47\ Often, however, 
applicants either submit deposit copies without the shipping slip, or 
include multiple deposits and multiple slips in one package without 
attaching each slip to its respective deposit. In such cases, Copyright 
Office personnel expend time manually matching the unidentified 
deposits to the applications. Although the Office has not previously 
charged a fee for this service, we intend to do so with the adoption of 
this new fee schedule. The estimated cost for this service is $38 per 
half hour, so this fee seeks to achieve full cost recovery.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \47\ Id. 1508.2.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Office proposes to raise the special handling surcharge for 
expedited processing of a registration application from $800 to $1,000 
per claim. The description of the fee as a ``surcharge'' is to make 
clear that it applies in addition to any other applicable fee. The 
actual cost to the Office for this service is estimated to be $67, 
which reflects the fact that payment of the special handling surcharge 
simply moves the requester towards the front of the processing queue. 
But demand for this service is highly inelastic, so the fees collected 
help offset the cost of other registration services.
    The Office proposes keeping the fee for full-term retention of 
physical published copyright deposits at $540. This accounts for 
projected storage costs for the full span of the full term retention 
period, which is currently 75 years, but which the Office has indicated 
it will extend to 95 years to conform with the Copyright Term Extension 
Act.\48\ The Office proposes establishing a new fee of $220 for full-
term retention of electronic copyright deposits, which seeks to recover 
the full estimated cost of such a service, $221.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \48\ 82 FR 38859, 38863 n.22 (Aug. 16, 2017).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

4. Recordation
    The Office's other major service is recordation, which allows 
individuals to record various documents pertinent to ownership of 
copyrights. Recordation is important to the Office's mission, because 
it creates a public record of copyright ownership. Various provisions 
of the Copyright Act authorize the establishment of recordation fees. 
See, e.g., 17 U.S.C. 708(a)(4), (6). The Office proposes the following 
fee schedule, to be codified at 37 CFR 201.3(c).

[[Page 24061]]



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                    Calculated
      Recordation and related services                 Current fees ($)            Proposed fees      cost of
                                                                                        ($)         service ($)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1) Recordation of a document, including a
 notice of intention to enforce a restored
 copyright:
    (i) Base fee (includes 1 title):
        Paper...............................  105...............................             125             155
        Electronic..........................  New fee...........................              95             131
    (ii) Additional transfer (per transfer).  105...............................              95        \49\ N/A
    (iii) Additional titles, paper (per       35................................              60             105
     group of 10 or fewer titles).
    (iv) Additional titles, electronic: \50\
        1 to 50 additional titles...........  60................................              60
        51 to 500 additional titles.........  225...............................             225
        501 to 1,000 additional titles......  390...............................             390
        1,001 to 10,000 additional titles...  555...............................             555
        10,001 or more additional titles....  5,500.............................           5,500  ..............
(2) Recordation of notice of termination:
    (i) Base fee (includes 1 title).........  105...............................             125             552
    (ii) Additional titles (per group of 10   35................................              60             105
     or fewer titles).
(3) Special handling surcharge for            550...............................             700              92
 recordation of documents.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Office recorded 10,865 documents in Fiscal Year 2016, at an 
estimated cost of $155 per document. The Office recommends raising the 
base recordation fee, which includes the cost of indexing one title, to 
$125 to recover a projected 80% of the cost of this service.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \49\ Insufficient volume to calculate costs.
    \50\ These fees were explained and established as part of a 
separate fee study submitted to Congress in August 2017, and became 
effective in December 2017. See U.S. Copyright Office, Proposed 
Schedule and Analysis of Copyright Recordation Fee to Go into Effect 
on or About December 18, 2017 (Aug. 18, 2017), available at https://www.copyright.gov/policy/feestudy2017/fee-study-2017.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Office is also proposing a new fee for electronic submissions 
to record documents, in anticipation of the development of a new 
electronic recordation system at some point during the period that the 
new fee schedule is in place. The fee for such submissions is set at 
$95, based on our current estimate of processing costs ($131). This 
will achieve a 73% cost recovery. This electronic filing fee is set 
lower than the paper filing fee to discount the RAC costs associated 
with paper filings (i.e., handling and transporting, scanning, data 
entry) that do not accrue for electronic filings. The Office may, 
however, reassess its costs once the system is developed and adjust the 
fee accordingly.\51\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \51\ Because this fee is for a system that is not yet in place, 
and for which the Office has no volume data, the Office's current 
fee model, as provided on the website, does not attempt to model the 
effects of this fee on the Office's overall fee receipts.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Office proposes reducing the per-transfer fee for additional 
transfers to $95. This fee is charged when a single document involves 
multiple transfers or other transactions among more than two parties. 
Each transaction has to be separately indexed by the recordation 
specialist, and so the Office charges an additional fee for each 
additional transaction in the document. That fee has traditionally been 
the same as the base fee for recordation of a document. But that base 
fee accounts for the costs incurred by RAC upon intake of the paper 
document. Because those costs are incurred only once per document, a 
lower fee is appropriate for additional transfers in that document.
    When recording a document, the Office must index information about 
each of the copyrighted works to which the document pertains.\52\ This 
indexing is, to a large degree, a manual process, and the Office 
charges fees beyond the base fee for works in a document beyond the 
first one (referred to as ``additional titles'') to cover these 
processing costs. The Office proposes increasing the fees for 
additional titles submitted by paper. When the works associated with 
the document are submitted only on paper form, they must be manually 
typed into the Office's database to be indexed. This, obviously, 
involves significant processing costs, but the Office has traditionally 
kept the fee low so as to avoid discouraging use of the recordation 
system. In recent years, however, the Office began accepting electronic 
title lists that are submitted with paper documents. These are much 
easier for the Office to process. Although initially the Office's fee 
schedule did not distinguish between titles submitted electronically 
and on paper, in December 2017, the Office adopted a much lower fee 
structure for electronic title list, which it does not propose 
adjusting further here.\53\ Accordingly the Office is comfortable 
increasing the fee for additional titles submitted solely on paper, to 
better account for the manual processing costs and as a further 
inducement to submitting electronic title lists. (To be clear, when a 
remitter submits a paper document and an electronic title list, they 
will pay the paper fee for the first title ($105) and the electronic 
fee for the additional titles (starting at $60 for up to the first 50 
additional titles)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \52\ See, e.g., 17 U.S.C. 205.
    \53\ See 82 FR 52221 (Nov. 13, 2017).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Office proposes an increase for the fee for recordation of 
notices of termination to $125 (from $105), which achieves only 23% 
cost recovery. This accounts for the fact that the Office charges a 
flat fee for this service, though some terminations require additional 
indexing work, such as when the notice terminates multiple transfers of 
ownership of the same work. The Office also engages in a more robust 
examination of terminations, to ensure that authors are complying with 
the relevant time limits set forth in the statute, and can cure any 
defects in a timely manner.
    The special handling surcharge for recordation of documents has 
been raised from $550 to $700, which will be charged in addition to the 
otherwise applicable processing fee. This is consistent with special 
handling surcharges the Office charges for other services.

[[Page 24062]]

5. Record Retrieval, Search, and Certification Services
    Record Retrieval, Search, and Certification Services (RRC) provides 
copies of completed and in-process registration and recordation 
records, search reports, and registration deposit materials. By the 
time this fee schedule goes into effect, RRC will also have taken on 
responsibility for providing retrieval, search, and certification 
services for Licensing Division records. RRC also administers the 
Office's Records Reading Room and the Historic Public Records Program. 
The Office proposes the following fee schedule for records retrieval, 
search, and certification services, to be codified at 37 CFR 201.3(c).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Record retrieval, search, and                                    Proposed fees   Calculated cost of service
        certification services                Current fees ($)             ($)                   ($)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1) Provision of an additional          40.........................              55  285.
 certificate of registration.
(2) Estimate of retrieval or search     200........................             200  \54\ Varied.
 fee (flat fee; credited to retrieval
 or search fee).
(3) Retrieval and processing of         200........................             200  276.
 Copyright Office records (per hour)
 (1 hour minimum for paper records;
 half hour minimum for electronic
 records, with quarter hour
 increments).
(4) Copying fee (all media)...........  Varied.....................              12  ...........................
(5) Search report prepared from         200........................             200  661.
 official records, including Licensing
 Division records (per hour, 2 hour
 minimum).
(6) Certification of copyright office   200........................             200  314.
 records, including search reports
 (per hour, 1 hour minimum).
(7) Litigation statement (Form LS)....  New Fee....................             100  102.
(8) Special handling fee for records    Varied.....................             500  ...........................
 retrieval, search, and certification
 services (per hour, 1 hour minimum,
 applies in lieu of hourly fees above).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Location and retrieval of records can be time-consuming, and 
requires specialized knowledge. In addition, as the table above 
indicates, the costs of the RRC's services vary greatly, largely 
because the complexity of each service varies. At the same time, 
requesters often are seeking multiple services (e.g., location and 
retrieval of records, creation of a search report, and certification of 
that report).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \54\ The cost of creating an estimate per hour is roughly 
equivalent to the hourly cost for retrieval ($318) and/or search 
($661), as applicable.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In general, the proposed fee schedule above is intended to be 
simpler and easier for the public to understand and for the Office to 
apply. For instance, currently the fee charged for copying of Copyright 
Office records varies widely based on the type of media involved 
(paper, audiocassette, videocassette, CD etc.). The Office above 
proposes simplifying the copying fee to $12 regardless of media. 
Similarly, rather than try to distinguish among these various services, 
the Office proposes maintaining a simpler fee structure by maintaining 
a $200-per-hour fee in place for most RRC services.
    The creation of an estimate itself can be costly, as it requires 
Office personnel to conduct a preliminary search of the Office's 
records. The Office proposes maintaining that fee at a flat $200 level, 
which can be credited against the final search and retrieval fee.
    The Office proposes raising the fee for an additional certificate 
of registration from $40 to $55 to achieve greater cost recovery; this 
service costs $285 to provide. The Office also proposes setting a new 
fee of $100 for litigation statements,\55\ to achieve almost full cost 
recovery.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \55\ See 37 CFR 201.2; COMPENDIUM (THIRD) 2400.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, the Office currently charges three different special 
handling fees for the different kinds of services RRC provides. The 
Office instead proposes adopting a standard $500 hourly fee for special 
handling of records retrieval, search, and certification services, 
which would apply in lieu of the $200-per-hour fees that are otherwise 
charged for such services. Because payment of the special handling fee 
simply moves the requester towards the front of the queue, the revenues 
from this service exceed the costs. Those excess revenues, however, 
help offset the cost of other services.

B. Miscellaneous Fees

    The Office proposes the following miscellaneous fees, as authorized 
by 17 U.S.C. 708 and other provisions of the Copyright Act, to be 
codified at 37 CFR 201.3(e).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \56\ Insufficient volume to calculate costs.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                    Calculated
                       Miscellaneous fees                          Current fees    Proposed fees      cost of
                                                                        ($)             ($)         service ($)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1) Receipt for mandatory deposit without registration (17                    30              30        \56\ N/A
 U.S.C. 407)....................................................
(2) Notice to libraries and archives (17 U.S.C. 108(h)).........              50              50        \57\ N/A
    Each additional title.......................................              20              20        \58\ N/A
(3) Designation of agent (17 U.S.C. 512(c)(2))..................               6               6              52
(4) Request to remove PII from online catalog:
    Initial request.............................................             130             100        \59\ N/A
    Reconsideration of denied request...........................              60              60        \60\ N/A
(5) Service charge for Federal Express mailing..................              45              45              35
(6) Service charge for delivery of documents via fax............               1               1              35
(7) Overdraft of deposit account................................             250             285             280
(8) Dishonored replenishment check for deposit account..........             100             500             513
(9) Uncollectable or nonnegotiable payment......................              30             115             110
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 24063]]

    The Office had insufficient volume to compute a transaction cost 
for the following fees, and therefore recommends keeping the cost of 
these services at their current levels or reduce them: Receipt for 
mandatory deposit without registration; notice to libraries and 
archives under 17 U.S.C. 108(h); initial request to remove requested 
personally identifiable information (PII) from an online catalogue; and 
reconsideration of a denied request to remove PII.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \57\ Insufficient volume to calculate costs.
    \58\ Insufficient volume to calculate costs.
    \59\ Insufficient volume to calculate costs.
    \60\ Insufficient volume to calculate costs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Taking into account labor and costs, the Office estimates that it 
costs $35 to deliver documents by fax and by Federal Express mailing. 
The Office proposes that the $1 and $45 fees for such services, 
respectively, remain unchanged.
    The Office proposes raising the payment processing service charges 
to account for a near complete cost recovery for those types of 
charges. Thus, the Office proposes raising the fee for overdraft of a 
deposit account from $250 to $285 to account for the estimated cost of 
$280. The Office proposes raising the fee for dishonored replenishment 
checks for deposit accounts from $100 to $500 to account for the $513 
cost of such service. And the Office proposes raising the fee for 
uncollectable or nonnegotiable payments from $30 to $115 to recover the 
$110 it costs the Office to address such a situation.
    Finally, the Office proposes keeping the fee for designation of an 
agent under 17 U.S.C. 512(c)(2) at $6, despite its $52 cost. That 
higher cost figure largely reflects the cost of staff time during 
initial development of a new electronic designation of agent system, 
and the Office anticipates that the ongoing costs will be lower now 
that system development is largely complete.

C. Licensing Division Fees

    The Licensing Division administers the various statutory licenses 
and related provisions, and also provides services to the Copyright 
Royalty Board, which oversees rate determinations and disbursements for 
certain statutory and compulsory licenses. Specifically, the Licensing 
Division administers statutory licenses for secondary transmissions by 
cable systems (section 111), statutory licenses for ephemeral 
recordings (section 112); statutory licenses for the public perforce of 
sound recordings by means of a digital audio transmission (section 
114), compulsory licenses for making and distributing phonorecords 
(section 115), statutory licenses for secondary transmissions for 
satellite carriers (section 119), statutory licenses for secondary 
transmissions by satellite carriers for local retransmissions (section 
122), and statutory obligation for distribution of digital audio 
recording devices and media (section 1003).
    The Licensing Division collects fees for the filing of cable and 
satellite statements of account, to reimburse some of the costs of 
administering the cable and satellite licenses. It deducts its 
operating costs from the royalty fees it collects, and invests any 
remaining balance in interest-bearing securities with the U.S. Treasury 
for later distribution to copyright owners. Unlike other fees collected 
by the Copyright Office, the revenue from filing fees under sections 
111, 119, and 122 may not exceed 50% of certain costs associated with 
the Licensing Division's administration of the statutory licenses under 
those provisions. See 17 U.S.C. 708(a).
    The Office proposes the following Licensing Division fees to be 
codified at 37 CFR 201.3(f).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                    Calculated
                     Licensing division fees                       Current fees    Proposed fees      cost of
                                                                        ($)             ($)         service ($)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1) Statement of account for cable systems (17 U.S.C. 111):
    (i) Form SA1................................................              15              20             369
    (ii) Form SA2...............................................              20              30             369
    (iii) Form SA3..............................................             725           1,000             612
(2) Statement of account for satellite systems (17 U.S.C. 119 or             725           1,000           3,186
 122)...........................................................
(3) Statement of account amendment for cable systems, satellite              150              50             428
 systems, and digital audio recording device distributors.......
(4) Recordation of a notice of intention to make and distribute               75              75             291
 phonorecords (17 U.S.C. 115)...................................
    Additional titles (per group of 1 to 10 titles) (paper                    20              20  ..............
     filing)....................................................
    Additional titles (per group of 1 to 100 titles) (electronic              10              10  ..............
     filing)....................................................
(5) Initial or amended notice of use of sound recordings (17                  40              50        \61\ 300
 U.S.C. 112 and 114)............................................
(6) Recordation of certain contracts by cable television                      50              50        \62\ N/A
 stations located outside the 48 contiguous states..............
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For the filing of statements of account for cable systems under the 
section 111 statutory license, the Office has attempted to streamline 
the fees and improve cost recovery. The Office proposes a flat fee for 
paper and electric versions of Forms SA 1, 2, and 3. The fees for SA1 
and SA2 recover a negligible amount of the costs associated with those 
forms, but the Office is proposing only modest increases because the 
companies that file those statements are relatively less able to bear 
increases in costs. At the same time, the Office proposes that the fee 
for Form SA3, which tends to be filed by companies with a greater 
ability to bear a higher filing fee, be set above the cost associated 
with that Form to subsidize the other fees in this category. The Office 
proposes a fee increase for statements of account for satellite systems 
achieve a somewhat greater cost recovery.
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    \61\ This amount reflects the calculated cost for processing an 
initial notice of use of sound recordings. There is insufficient 
data to calculate the cost of an amended notice.
    \62\ Insufficient volume to calculate costs.
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    The fee for an amended statement of account filed by cable systems, 
satellite systems, and digital audio recording device distributors will 
be reduced to $50. The Office notes, however, that it intends to charge 
that amendment fee in a wider range of circumstances. In particular, 
the Office does not always charge the amendment fee when Office 
examination uncovers an error that requires the filing of an amended 
statement of account; the Office plans to regularly charge that fee in 
the future.
    The Office has proposed fees associated with section 111, 119, and

[[Page 24064]]

122 licenses to remain, in the aggregate over the next five year 
period, below 50% of the Office's reasonable expenses to administer the 
cable and satellite licensing programs. Because the costs of 
administering these licenses are evaluated based on when the fees are 
identified, not when the statements of account are submitted, the 
estimates for these costs are to some degree uncertain. However, the 
Office has taken into account that the volume of cable statements of 
account projected to continue to decrease, as they have done for a 
number of years. In particular, based on the current trend line, the 
Office estimates that cable system filings will decrease from just over 
5,000 in the most recent fiscal year to approximately 3,765 by fiscal 
year 2023. (Satellite filings are already fairly low, with only 9 in 
fiscal year 2017.) Moreover, future volume of filings may decrease more 
rapidly than the Office has estimated, especially if the cable industry 
undergoes significant consolidation. Because of this uncertainty, the 
Office has proposed fees for cable and satellite statements of account 
in a conservative manner, to ensure that, over the five-year period, 
revenues do not breach the 50% threshold established by statute. In 
particular, based on current estimates, fee recovery is estimated to be 
44% in fiscal year 2019, and will decrease to 39% in fiscal year 2023. 
The Office will continue to monitor costs and filing volume to ensure 
that it complies with the statutory limit.
    The Office proposes keeping the fee for section 115 notices at 
their current levels. As the Booz Allen Study notes, ``subsequent to 
FY2016, the Office received a significant increase in electronic 
Section 115 notices with large numbers of titles, and has devoted 
resources to developing a new system to ingest and process these large 
filings.'' \63\ Though the model references projections for FY 2016, 
the Office notes that it has received a significant increase in the 
numbers of additional titles in subsequent years. To be sure, the 
Office acknowledges that the amount of fees received from such filings 
significantly exceeds the costs of processing them.\64\ But, as the 
Booz Allen Study notes, ``there is significant additional added 
convenience that the electronic filing option provides to filers.'' 
\65\ Indeed, the legal benefits obtained by licensees with the filing 
of section 115 notices with the Office are noteworthy--namely, the 
ability to obtain a statutory license to make and reproduce musical 
works, without knowing the identify of any of the copyright owners of 
those works and without paying those copyright owners the otherwise-
required royalty.\66\ As a result, demand for this service appears to 
be relatively inelastic, and maintaining fees at the current level 
helps the keep registration and recordation fees relatively low. This 
in turn benefits copyright owners and users alike, by making it more 
likely that ownership of musical works (and other works) can be 
identified. Finally, the fee may largely be obviated by pending 
legislation.\67\
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    \63\ Booz Allen Study at 18.
    \64\ Id.
    \65\ Id.
    \66\ 17 U.S.C. 115(b)(1); see also id. 115(c)(1) (``To be 
entitled to receive royalties under a compulsory license, the 
copyright owner must be identified in the registration or other 
public records of the Copyright Office. The owner is entitled to 
royalties for phonorecords made and distributed after being so 
identified, but is not entitled to recover for any phonorecords 
previously made and distributed.'').
    \67\ See Music Modernization Act, H.R. 5447, 115th Cong. (2018); 
see also Music Modernization Act, S.2334, 115th Cong. (2018).
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    The Office proposes raising the fee for notices under sections 112 
and 114 from $40 to $50 to achieve greater recovery of the $300 cost 
associated with such notices. The Office did not have sufficient data 
to evaluate the fee for recordation of certain contracts by cable 
television stations located outside the 48 contiguous states, so the 
Office proposes keeping it at $50.

IV. Technical Amendments

    The Office will adopt technical amendments as needed to conform 
existing regulations to the changes proposed in this notice.

    Dated: May 18, 2018.
Sarang Vijay Damle,
General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights.
[FR Doc. 2018-11095 Filed 5-23-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 1410-30-P