The U.S. Copyright Office has proposed the adoption of new a fee schedule for certain Office services, including for applications to register copyrights, record documents, and issue certifications, among others. Congress authorized the Register to set and adjust Copyright Office fees that are fair, equitable, and give due consideration to the objectives of the copyright system. The Office adjusts its fees at appropriate intervals after conducting a study of the actual cost to the Office for providing its fee-based services. In setting its fees, the Office is mindful of its responsibilities to authors and other copyright owners to price services at a level that encourages participation in the registration and recordation process, not only for their own benefit but also for the benefit of licensees and other users of works of authorship as well as the public at large. With these objectives in mind, the Office has proposed fees that will enable it to recover a significant portion of the costs to the Office for services that benefit both copyright owners and the public.
The Office initiated the most recent cost study in June 2017 and proposed an initial fee schedule in a May 2018 notice of proposed rulemaking. The Office also provided the model used—based on the findings of the cost study—to craft the fee schedule. In June 2019, the Office issued a supplemental notice proposing limited revisions to the 2018 notice relating to document recordation and new prospective group registration options. The Office received a number of public comments, which the Office considered carefully and used to refine the new proposed fee schedule.
In October 2019, the Office presented a final proposed schedule and analysis of fees for Copyright Office services to Congress pursuant to 17 USC 701(b). By law, the Register may institute the new fees 120 days after the proposed schedule is submitted to Congress, unless Congress enacts a law within the 120-day period stating that it does not approve the schedule. Absent congressional action, the Office expects to promulgate a final rule instituting a change in fees in spring 2020.