What is the rationale for increasing registration fees?
Approximately two-thirds of the Copyright Office annual budget is funded by fees with the remaining third funded by taxpayer dollars. As much as possible, we seek to recover as much of our costs as possible through adjusted fees, while endeavoring to maintain fees as low as possible for creators in order to encourage registration. Certain types of processes involve greater costs for the Office. For instance, paper applications fees are higher, because we have to spend more time and effort to create a public record of these claims, e.g., keying-in the information contained on the paper application. Correspondence on claims increases the time and effort spent by the Office in the examination and final determination of claims. The fact that the Copyright Office often is required to obtain physical deposits through mail, move, store, examine, and route, either to the Library of Congress or the Office’s storage facilities is another significant factor in the Office’s costs. Moreover, the examination of large numbers of works within claims (e.g., group registrations and unpublished collections) significantly increase the time spent on examination and often increase the likelihood of problems that may require correspondence.
To the extent that we could minimize paper applications, correspondence, and physical copies in the registration process, the Office could increase efficiencies that may offset certain costs. The Office is also investigating the possibility of differential fees, such as for certain types of works that require more costs to the Office. The Office has always sought to keep fees as low as possible in order to incentivize registration. However, fees derived from applications for registration are currently a significant part of the Office’s annual operating budget.
Rob Kasunic, Director of Registration Policy and Practices at the U.S. Copyright Office