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 Copyright Office has six main divisions, in addition to the Register’s Office, and several hundred staff. There are four Associate Registers of Copyrights, one Assistant Register of Copyrights, and one division director that report directly to the Register and help to carry out her statutory mandate.
The Office of the Register of Copyrights has overall responsibility for the Copyright Office and its statutory mandate, specifically for legal interpretation of 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. OGC assists the Register in carrying out the critical work of the Copyright Office regarding the legal interpretation of copyright law. The General Counsel liaises 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 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. PIA assists the Register with critical policy functions of the Copyright Office, including domestic and international policy analyses, legislative support, and trade negotiations. PIA represents the 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 (RPP) 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. RPP administers the copyright registration system and advises the Register 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 U.S. 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 responsible for providing authoritative information about copyright law, answering public inquiries, and offering extensive outreach and education programming. As part of this work, PIE publishes an annotated version of Title 17 of the U.S. Code, maintains a robust and accurate website, creates a variety of written publications, responds to questions about Office policies and procedures, educates the public on copyright law, and develops a variety of educational activities.
The Office of Operations is headed by the Assistant Register of Copyrights and Director of Operations, who advises the Register on core financial and business activities and coordinates and directs the day-to-day operations of the Copyright Office. This Office supervises human capital, mandatory deposits and acquisitions, and strategic planning functions as well as the Office’s budget and procurement processes, statutory royalty investments and disbursements, and resource planning. This Office interacts with every other senior management office that reports to the Register and frequently coordinates and assesses institutional projects, including modernization of Copyright Office systems and processes.
The Office of Copyright Records is headed by the Director of Copyright Records, 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 Copyright Office. Additionally, the Office engages regularly in discussions with leaders in the private and public sectors regarding issues of metadata, interoperability, data management, and open government.