The Register of Copyrights is the Director of the U.S. Copyright Office and a recognized leader and lawyer within the U.S. government. By statute, the Register works under the general direction of the Librarian of Congress and carries out a variety of legal and policy functions that are enumerated throughout Title 17. The U.S. Copyright Office has seven main divisions, in addition to the Register’s Office, and several hundred staff. There are four Associate Registers of Copyrights and three additional division heads that report directly to the Register and help to carry out her statutory mandate. An organizational chart is available at www.copyright.gov/docs/c-711.pdf.
The Office of the Register of Copyrights has overall responsibility for the U.S. Copyright Office and its statutory mandate, specifically: for legal interpretation of the copyright law; administering the provisions of Title 17; promulgating copyright regulations; advising Congress and other government officials on domestic and international copyright policy and other intellectual property issues; determining personnel and other resource requirements for the Office; organizing strategic and annual program planning; and preparing budget estimates for inclusion in the budget of the Library of Congress and U.S. Government.
The Office of the General Counsel (“OGC”) is headed by the General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights, who is an expert copyright attorney and one of four legal advisors to the Register. This Office assists the Register in carrying out critical work of the U.S. Copyright Office regarding the legal interpretation of the copyright law. The General Counsel liaisons with the Department of Justice, other federal departments, and the legal community on a wide range of copyright matters including litigation and the administration of Title 17. The General Counsel also has primary responsibility for the formulation and promulgation of regulations and the adoption of legal positions governing policy matters and the practices of the U.S. Copyright Office.
The Office of Policy and International Affairs (“PIA”) is headed by the Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs, who is an expert copyright attorney and one of four legal advisors to the Register. This Office assists the Register with critical policy functions of the U.S. Copyright Office, including domestic and international policy analyses, legislative support, and trade negotiations. PIA represents the U.S. Copyright Office at meetings of government officials concerned with the international aspects of intellectual property protection, and provides regular support to Congress and its committees on statutory amendments and construction.
The Office of Registration Policy and Practice is headed by the Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Registration Policy and Practice, who is an expert copyright attorney and one of four legal advisors to the Register. This Office administers the U.S. copyright registration system and advises the Register of Copyrights on questions of registration policy and related regulations and interpretations of copyright law. This Office has three divisions: Literary, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts. It also has a number of specialized sections, for example, in the area of motion pictures. This Office executes major sections of the Compendium of Copyright Office Practices, particularly with respect to the examination of claims and related principles of law.
The Office of Public Information and Education (“PIE”) is headed by the Associate Register for Public Information and Education, who is an expert copyright attorney and one of four legal advisors to the Register. This Office informs and helps carry out the work of the Register and the U.S. Copyright Office in providing authoritative information about the copyright law to the public and establishing educational programs. The Office publishes the copyright law and other provisions of title 17; maintains a robust and accurate public website; creates and distributes a variety of circulars, information sheets, and newsletters, including NewsNet; responds to public inquiries regarding provisions of the law, explains registration policies, procedures, and other copyright-related topics upon request; plans and executes a variety of educational activities; and engages in outreach with various copyright community stakeholders.
The Office of Public Records and Repositories is headed by the Director, who is an expert in public administration and one of the Register’s top business advisors. This Office is responsible for carrying out major provisions of Title 17, including establishing records policies; ensuring the storage and security of copyright deposits, both analog and digital; recording licenses and transfers of copyright ownership; preserving, maintaining, and servicing copyright-related records; researching and providing certified and non-certified reproductions of copyright deposits; and maintaining the official records of the U.S. Copyright Office. Additionally, the Office engages regularly in discussions with leaders in the private and public sectors regarding issues of meta data, interoperability, data management, and open government.
The Office of the Chief Information Officer is headed by the Chief Information Officer (“CIO”), who is the Register’s top advisor on the development and implementation of technology policy and infrastructure. The Office of the CIO provides strategic leadership and direction for necessary planning, design, development, and implementation of the U.S. Copyright Office’s automated initiatives. The Office of the CIO is a liaison to the central technology office of the Library of Congress, which administers the U.S. Copyright Office’s networks and communications. The CIO also supervises the Copyright Technology Office (“CTO”). CTO maintains the U.S. Copyright Office’s enterprise-wide IT systems for registration, recordation, public records management and access, and related public services, as well as internal and external help-desk functions.
The Office of the Chief of Operations is headed by the Chief of Operations (“COO”), who advises the Register on core business functions and coordinates and directs the day-to-day operations of the U.S. Copyright Office. The Office of the COO supervises financial controls, budget, human capital, statutory royalty investments, mandatory deposits and acquisitions, contracts, and strategic planning functions. This Office interacts with every other senior management office that reports to the Register and frequently coordinates and assesses institutional projects. The COO chairs the U.S. Copyright Office’s operations committee. The following divisions fall under the oversight of the Chief of Operations:
- Receipt Analysis and Control Division
- The Receipt Analysis and Control Division is responsible for: sorting, analyzing, and scanning incoming mail; creating initial records; labeling materials; and searching, assembling, and dispatching electronic and hardcopy materials and deposits to the appropriate service areas. The Division is responsible for operating the U.S. Copyright Office’s central print room, mail functions, and temporary storage. The Division also processes all incoming fees and maintains accounts, related records, and reports involving fees received.
- Licensing Division
- The Licensing Division administers certain statutory licenses set forth in the Copyright Act. The Division collects royalty payments and examines statements of account for the cable statutory license (17 U.S.C. § 111), the satellite statutory license for retransmission of distant television broadcast stations (17 U.S.C. § 119), and the statutory license for digital audio recording technology (17 U.S.C. chapter 10). The Division also accepts and records documents associated with the use of the mechanical statutory license (17 U.S.C. § 115).
- Copyright Acquisition Division
- The Copyright Acquisitions Division (“CAD”) administers the mandatory deposit requirements of the Copyright Act, acting as a trusted intermediary between copyright owners of certain published works and the acquisitions staff in the Library of Congress. 17 U.S.C. § 407. This Office creates and updates records for the copies received by the U.S. Copyright Office; demands particular works or particular formats of works as necessary; administers deposit agreements between the Library and copyright owners; and assists the Office in public discussions and rulemakings regarding the submission requirements for digital works and the best edition requirements.