[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 60 (Wednesday, March 28, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 18705-18707]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-7429]



Copyright Office

37 CFR Parts 201 and 202

[Docket No. 2011-8]

Discontinuance of Form CO in Registration Practices

AGENCY: Copyright Office, Library of Congress.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The United States Copyright Office is amending its regulations 
in order to discontinue use of the Form CO application as an option for 
applying for copyright registration, and in order to remove references 
to CON 1 and CON 2 continuation sheets. The removal of Form CO leaves 
applicants a choice of filing an application for registration 
electronically or by using the appropriate printed application form 
relating to the subject matter of the application. The amendment also 
removes the references to CON 1 and CON 2 continuation sheets, which 
were never developed or made available to the public; the regulations 
instead now refer only to the continuation sheets currently available 
for applicants filing paper applications and makes other housekeeping 
amendments relating to applications for copyright registration.

DATES: Effective Date: July 1, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tanya Sandros, Deputy General Counsel, 
Copyright Office, GC/I&R, P.O. Box 70400, Washington, DC 20024. 
Telephone: (202) 707-8380. Telefax: (202) 707-8366. All prior Federal 
Register notices and comments in this docket are available at http://www.copyright.gov/docs/formco/.



    In 2007, the Copyright Office began an extensive business process 
reengineering initiative that had an impact on a variety of 
registration-related activities. See 72 FR 36883 (July 6, 2007). As 
part of this initiative, the Office promulgated interim regulations 
regarding how the public submits and the Office processes copyright 
applications. In these interim regulations, the Office announced four 
ways to file an application for registration. At the time, the Office 
used the term ``Form CO'' generically in its regulations to cover all 
four approaches to registration. With the implementation of the new 
electronic registration practices, however, Form CO was used to 
describe a specific form that is filled out on a computer and that uses 
barcodes to capture the information entered by the person filling out 
the form. After completing the form, the applicant prints it out and 
submits the paper form to the Copyright Office. This newer incarnation 
of Form CO, first made available in 2008, was intended to simplify the 
application process and replace the traditional paper Forms TX, VA, PA, 
SR, and SE. See 72 FR at 36885; 37 CFR 202.3(b)(2)(ii). However, 
following the implementation of reengineering, it eventually became 
clear (for reasons discussed below) that Form CO did not live up to its 
expectations because many users of the form made entries on the form 
that were not captured in the barcodes and therefore were not carried 
over into the Office's registration records and because of problems 
with printing the forms.
    The regulations promulgated in 2007 also referred to two additional 
continuation sheets, CON 1 and CON 2, which the Office intended to be 
used in connection with Form CO and which would have allowed applicants 
to provide additional information that would not fit within the 
barcodes to be generated by Form CO. See 72 FR at 36886. However, the 
Office never developed these new continuation sheets and continued to 
accept the traditional Form CON for the provision of additional 
information. See http://www.copyright.gov/forms/formcon.pdf.
    On September 30, 2011, the Copyright Office published a notice of 
proposed rulemaking and request for comments in regard to Form CO, CON 
1, and CON 2. 76 FR 60774. The Office proposed eliminating Form CO as 
an application option and removing references to CON 1 and CON 2. Form 
CO, the Office pointed out, is not widely used, but it does present a 
disproportionate number of problems for the Office. As is explained in 
greater detail in the notice of proposed rulemaking, when applicants 
find they need to amend information on Form CO after preparing and 
printing the form but before submitting it, they frequently make 
changes by writing directly on the form rather than redoing or revising 
the form correctly online. As a result, additional time and resources 
are required for the Office to manually input the amended information 
into the system, or it may be missed in the ingestion process 
altogether. Either way, the added time required to detect and correct 
these problems defeats all the efficiencies promised by this 
    Nor is human error the only concern. The notice of proposed 
rulemaking also noted that the use of barcodes presents other unique 
problems associated with

[[Page 18706]]

the technology. Barcodes can be compromised and fail to function 
properly, e.g., due to distortion in the printing of the application, 
or due to tears in the portion of the page on which the barcode 
appears. In such cases the information on a Form CO application must be 
manually entered into the online registration system.
    In addition to proposing the elimination of Form CO, the Office 
proposed amending its regulations to remove references to continuation 
sheets for use with Form CO--CON 1 and CON 2--because the Copyright 
Office never created these specialized forms.


    The Office received two comments in response to its notice of 
proposed rulemaking one in support of the proposal to eliminate Form CO 
and the other in support of maintaining it Author Services, Inc. 
writing in support of the Office's proposal to eliminate Form CO, 
stated that its use is ``likely to cause errors and lengthen the 
examination process.'' Attorney Joshua Kaufman, on the other hand, 
opposed elimination of Form CO. He argued that the electronic filing 
system is ``clunky, cumbersome and takes a great deal of time,'' and 
stated that the system does not provide a copy of the application 
suitable for the applicant's file and for subsequent review. The 
alternative to electronic filing--using forms specific to various types 
of works--was also insufficient, maintained Mr. Kaufman, because these 
forms take over a year to process and are more expensive than 
electronic registration.


    Form CO represents a very small percentage of applications received 
by the Office--approximately two percent of applications submitted 
since January 2011 have been submitted on Form CO. Eliminating Form CO 
will simplify the registration process for the Copyright Office and 
leave applicants with two options to register their works. They may 
submit applications for registration electronically or they may use the 
paper forms (Forms TX, PA, VA, SR, and SE., or the Short Forms TX, PA, 
VA or SE if appropriate). Applications submitted electronically are 
less expensive and this option allows for a quicker turnaround time. 
Currently, these applications are processed on average in three months. 
The Office has also reduced the time it takes to process a paper 
application, completing the process on average in 10 months. However, 
the key benefit gained in eliminating Form CO is the savings in 
resources which the Office now spends on reviewing each Form CO to 
ensure the accuracy of the Form CO information embedded in the barcode.
    While Mr. Kaufman's lone voice in favor of maintaining Form CO does 
not provide a strong reason for the Office to continue to offer this 
option for registration, he does raise three issues that the Office, 
for the sake of clarity, wishes to address. First, the Office is aware 
that improvements are needed to make the online registration system 
more user-friendly and less time-consuming and, for that reason, the 
Office is committed to making it as easy and efficient as possible. To 
that end, the Register has made the evaluation of technical upgrades to 
the current electronic deposit system a major priority over the next 18 
months, a process that includes significant involvement from remitters 
and technical experts. See Priorities and Special Projects of the 
United States Copyright Office (http://www.copyright.gov/docs/priorities.pdf) at 13. Also, contrary to Mr. Kaufman's assertion, a 
reviewable copy of an electronic application is available to applicants 
after successful fee payment. Using the ``My Applications'' link, an 
applicant can view and print a copy of the certificate preview 
displaying all the information entered by the applicant under the 
corresponding headings. Finally, regarding the use of paper forms 
instead of electronic registration, the Office notes that while paper 
registration is more expensive and does take longer, the processing 
time for these applications has been steadily declining. As noted 
above, the current average processing time for a paper application is 
10 months, not a year or longer.
    For the reasons set forth above and because there is little support 
for maintaining Form CO, the Office has concluded that the use of Form 
CO should be discontinued. In addition, because the Office is 
discontinuing Form CO and never created the CON 1 and CON 2 forms that 
were to be used with Form CO, the Office is amending its regulations to 
remove references to the CON 1 and CON 2 forms. Note, however, that 
those applicants using paper applications may continue to use existing 
Form CON. See http://www.copyright.gov/forms/formcon.pdf. As a related 
point of clarity, the Office is also amending Sec.  202.3(b)(10)(iv)(D) 
and (v) of the regulations, relating to group registration of published 
photographs, to clarify that the references therein to ``special 
continuation sheet'' are references to Form DR/PPh/CON.

Effective Date

    Beginning July 1, 2012, the Copyright Office will no longer accept 
Form CO applications for registration. Upon receipt of a Form CO on or 
after July 1, 2012, the Office will notify the remitter that it has 
received an incomplete submission for registration and that the 
remitter may complete the submission by providing a completed ``Form 
TX''; ``Form PA''; ``Form VA''; ``Form SR''; ``Form SE.,'' or the short 
form versions of Forms TX, PA, VA or SE as appropriate, along with any 
applicable short fee. The effective date of registration for the claim 
will be the date the Office receives a complete submission, including 
an acceptable form, the appropriate fee and the deposit. Should the 
remitter fail to provide the correct form and additional fee within 30 
days, the Office will close the claim and retain the initial fee to 
cover the administrative costs of processing the incomplete submission.

Housekeeping Amendments

    The Office also takes this opportunity to make three additional 
amendments to its regulations. First, the Office is amending Sec.  
201.3(c) to clarify that the $35 fee for an electronic filing listed in 
item 2 applies only to the electronic submission of applications for 
group registration of photographs and for registration of automated 
databases that predominantly consist of photographs and updates to 
these databases. See 76 FR 4072 (January 24, 2011) and 76 FR 5106 
(January 28, 2011). While the Office had anticipated providing an 
online option for group registration of contributions to periodicals, 
this option still requires further testing and evaluation and is not 
currently offered.
    Second, the Office is amending Sec.  202.2(b)(1) which incorrectly 
identifies the appropriate copyright notice on a sound recording as a 
``(copyright).'' The technical amendment corrects this error and 
identifies the correct notice for a sound recording as a ``[ballot].''
    Finally, the Office is amending Sec.  202.3(b)(2)(ii) to include 
specific references to the short forms of several standard applications 
for registration and to indicate the circumstances under which these 
forms are used today. The conditions for use of the short forms are 
explained in the instructions accompanying Short Form PA, Short Form 
TX, Short Form VA, and Short Form SE. Thus, the proposed amendment 
merely clarifies the longstanding practice of the Office to accept 
short form applications, provided that the claim meets the conditions 
outlined in the instructions to the forms.

[[Page 18707]]

List of Subjects

37 CFR Part 201

    Copyright, General provisions.

37 CFR Part 202

    Copyright, Registration of claims to registration.

Final Regulations

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


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

    Authority:  17 U.S.C. 702.

Sec.  201.3  [Amended]

2. Amend Sec.  201.3(c) as follows:
a. By removing the line beginning ``Form-D barcode application properly 
completed online) * * *'' and the phrase ``; and Form CO without 
barcodes or incomplete information, or information added after printing 
(paper filing)'' from item (1) of the fee chart titled ``Registration, 
Recordation and Related Services.''
b. By adding ``of automated databases that predominantly consist of 
photographs and updates thereto or group registration of published 
photographs'' after ``electronic filing'' in item (2) of the fee chart 
titled ``Registration, Recordation and Related Services.''


3. The authority citation for part 202 reads as follows:

    Authority:  17 U.S.C. 409 and 702.

Sec.  202.2  [Amended]

4. Amend Sec.  202.2(b)(1) by removing ``(copyright)'' after ``in the 
case of a sound recording, the symbol'' and adding ``[ballot]'' in its 

5. Amend Sec.  202.3 by:
a. Revising paragraphs (b)(2) and (b)(3).
b. In paragraphs (b)(10)(iv)(D) and (b)(10)(v) by adding ``(Form GR/
PPh/CON)'' after the phrase ``special continuation sheet'' wherever it 
c. In paragraph (c)(2) introductory text by removing ``, electronically 
or in printed form, on the appropriate form prescribed by the Register 
of Copyrights under'' and by adding ``by using one of the methods set 
forth in'' in its place.
d. By resdesignating footnotes 3 through 6 as footnotes 2 through 5.

Sec.  202.3  Registration of copyright.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (2) Submission of application for registration. For purposes of 
registration, an applicant may submit an application for registration 
of individual works and certain groups of works electronically through 
the Copyright Office's Web site, or by using the printed forms 
prescribed by the Register of Copyrights.
    (i) An applicant may submit an application electronically through 
the Copyright Office Web site [www.copyright.gov]. An online submission 
requires a payment of the application fee through an electronic fund 
transfer, credit or debit card, or through a Copyright Office deposit 
account. Deposit materials in support of the online application may be 
submitted electronically in a digital format along with the application 
and payment, or deposit materials in physically tangible formats may be 
separately mailed to the Copyright Office, using a mailing label 
generated during the online registration process, or
    (ii) (A) Alternatively, an applicant may submit an application on 
one of the printed forms prescribed by the Register of Copyrights. Each 
printed form corresponds to a class set forth in paragraph (b)(1) of 
this section and is so designated (``Form TX''; ``Short Form TX'', 
``Form PA''; ``Short Form PA'', ``Form VA''; ``Short Form VA'', ``Form 
SR''; ``Form SE''; ``Short Form SE'', and ``Form SE/Group'').
    (B) Short form applications may only be used if certain conditions 
are met. Short Form TX, Short Form PA, and Short Form VA may be used 
only to register a single work in a case when a living author who is 
the only author of his or her work is the sole owner of the copyright 
in the work, the work is not a compilation or derivative work 
containing a substantial amount of previously published or registered 
material, and the work is not a work made for hire. Short Form SE may 
be used only if the claim is in a collective work, the work is 
essentially an all-new collective work or issue, the author is a 
citizen or domiciliary of the United States, the work is a work for 
hire, the author(s) and claimant(s) are the same person(s) or 
organization(s), and the work was first published in the United States.
    (C) Printed form applications should be submitted in the class most 
appropriate to the nature of the authorship in which copyright is 
claimed. In the case of contributions to collective works, applications 
should be submitted in the class representing the copyrightable 
authorship in the contribution. In the case of derivative works, 
applications should be submitted in the class most appropriately 
representing the copyrightable authorship involved in recasting, 
transforming, adapting, or otherwise modifying the preexisting work. In 
cases where a work contains elements of authorship in which copyright 
is claimed which fall into two or more classes, the application should 
be submitted in the class most appropriate to the type of authorship 
that predominates in the work as a whole. However, in any case where 
registration is sought for a work consisting of or including a sound 
recording in which copyright is claimed, the application shall be 
submitted on Form SR.
    (D) Copies of the printed forms are available on the Copyright 
Office's Web site [www.copyright.gov] and upon request to the Copyright 
Public Information Office, Library of Congress. Printed form 
applications may be completed and submitted by completing a printed 
version or using a PDF version of the applicable Copyright Office 
application form and mailing it together with the other required 
elements, i.e., physically tangible deposit copies and/or materials, 
and the required filing fee, all elements being placed in the same 
package and sent by mail or hand-delivered to the Copyright Office.
    (3) Continuation sheets. A continuation sheet (Form CON) is 
appropriate only in the case when a printed form application is used 
and where additional space is needed by the applicant to provide all 
relevant information concerning a claim to copyright. An application 
may include more than one continuation sheet, subject to the 
limitations in paragraph (b)(10)(v) of this section.
* * * * *

    Dated: March 12, 2012.
Maria A. Pallante,
Register of Copyrights.
    Dated: March 19, 2012.
James H. Billington,
The Librarian of Congress.
[FR Doc. 2012-7429 Filed 3-27-12; 8:45 am]