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Electronic Copyright Registration Update

Full Question: I’m hearing that an updated eCO registration procedure is in the works. If so, can you elaborate on how it will be different from the current program? Will the updated system permit authors to enter more characters/spaces in entry fields? Will the Public Catalog program also get an update?

Answer: The Copyright Office has begun the early stages for the creation of a re-envisioned electronic registration system. The started point has been outreach to experienced users and novice users of the current system to discover what problems applicants encounter with the existing system. The contractor for this initial user-experience research has interviewed many individuals, companies, and organizations, including the Copyright Alliance. In addition, thousands of surveys were assessed. Initial usability testing of a new electronic model with be initiated later this year. Keep in mind that what is now be designed is only the public-facing side of the system. It will take several years for the back-end architecture of this new system to be developed.

The vision for the over-arching structure of the new system is three-pronged: (1) a novice user interface that assists the applicant with the completion of the application; (2) an experienced user interface that will allow regular users to easily input the information to a simplified form; and (3) application programming interfaces (APIs) that will allow third-parties to develop business or industry-specific interfaces to the new system, bypassing the first two options, but containing technical validations. Through these three prongs of the new system, the Office believes that the system will enable an enhanced user experience and increase the efficiency of the copyright application process for creators and owners. Additional policy and practice changes are being discussed internally. More information will be announced in the near future.

The Office also plans a corresponding replacement of the current public catalog to enable enhanced search capabilities and to provide additional useful data. Development for such a new public catalog has not begun yet, but preliminary research is moving forward.

Answered by:

Rob Kasunic, Director of Registration Policy and Practices at the U.S. Copyright Office.