U.S. Copyright Office and Canadians

Yesterday U.S. Register of Copyrights, Maria A. Pallante, released a Document setting out 17 priorities of the U.S. Copyright Office over the next two years on copyright policy and administrative practice, and announced 10 new projects. Interesting read for Canadians as many of the issues discussed and proposals for the next two years may affect Canadians. As the report states, the “Office’s registration system and the companion recordation system constitute the world’s largest database of copyright works and copyright ownership information.” In fact, many Canadians register their works in the U.S. Copyright Office (since a deposit of the work is required unlike in Canada) and many also search the records of the U.S. Copyright Office when trying to locate copyright holders. Plus, the role of a Copyright Office with an annual budget of $54 million is interesting in itself.

So many issues, so little space…some highlights to follow in the Document:

  • the Copyright Office is conducting a study on resolving copyright infringement claims through small claims courts (publication date: December 2011)
  • the Copyright Office has a preliminary analysis of issues relating to mass book digitization and will continue researching this area (publication date: October 2011)
  • the Office will continue to provide support to Congress on the issue of orphan works (in the 109th and 110th Congresses Orphan Works legislation was introduced but never passed. Canada has an unlocatable copyright owner provision in its Copyright Act)
  • the Office will prepare a discussion document on exceptions for libraries
  • the Office will examine group registration options, as well as registration options for websites and other digital works (in 2012), and also publish a study of fees and services (in April 2012)
  • the Office will establish research partnerships with the academic community (it will seek proposals in 2012)
  • the Office will revise the Copyright Office website
  • the Office will examine how to make the 70 million historical copyright records searchable and available online (beginning November 2011)

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