Person views scanned image on tablet; open book; reading room


modern looking copyright logo

What is Copyright Office Modernization?

Copyright Office modernization is the initiative to reimagine the entire Office by (1) building a new enterprise IT system designed to be more flexible and easy for users to use, (2) modernizing supporting IT systems, and (3) further ensuring that Office practices and processes are efficient and productive. A PDF version of the information on this page is available.

Copyright Office modernization is the initiative to reimagine the entire Office by (1) building a new enterprise IT system designed to be more flexible and easy for users to use, (2) modernizing supporting IT systems, and (3) further ensuring that Office practices and processes are efficient and productive. A PDF version of the information on this page is available.

Enterprise Copyright System

One of modernization’s key goals is to develop a new enterprise IT system that integrates and improves all of the Office’s technology systems, which we are calling the Enterprise Copyright System (ECS). Specifically, the ECS will include the Office’s registration, recordation, public record, and licensing IT applications, among other functions.

All applications will share the same ECS design—giving users a consistent and optimal interface. Additionally, the ECS will include central sets of capabilities that support multiple business services (for example, using the same email, payment, authentication, and event systems). Furthermore, the ECS will leverage the Library’s system of record to support financial management.

The Office is focused on making sure that the ECS is easy for users to navigate. A user-centered and flexible design, which takes into account streamlined business processes and policies, will provide better access to the Office’s main services.

The Office will create a user-centric, flexible, and modern application to replace the existing registration application product, eCO. This will include developing both the public-facing functions and the internal Office examination review and correspondence functions. Doing this work will expand and improve our services, reduce errors and the need for correspondence, and improve the user experience across all Office business units.

We anticipate that the registration application development will follow this timeline:

  • Fall 2017—began user research for registration applicants.
  • Summer 2019—began user research for registration examiners, supervisors, and managers.
  • Fall 2019—conducted a foundational development effort on limited registration application fields.
  • Summer 2020—began development of a clickable Standard Application prototype and internal features.
  • Fall 2020—preliminary internal testing of clickable Standard Application prototype.
  • Winter 2020–2021—limited public prototype release 1 of a reimagined Standard Application for usability testing.
  • Spring 2021—limited public prototype release 2 of a reimagined Standard Application based on results from prior testing.
  • 2021—continue iterative development to support Standard Application and internal system development. Begin prototype development for supplemental registration and preregistration.

We will replace the current paper-based, manual recordation process with an application that enables web-based submissions and creates an updated workspace for Office staff to review and validate submissions while using a modular design to enable efficient growth, development, and integration with other ECS applications. We anticipate that recordation application development will follow this timeline:

  • April 2020—initial recordation pilot released.
    • Selected external users to review and assess the recordation pilot application.
    • Modular design intended to integrate with future ECS applications.
    • Limited functionality to test new ideas and concepts.
  • 2020–2021—user feedback incorporated into subsequent pilot releases with additional users that will expand functionality in the remitter portal and the recordation workspace.
  • Fall 2021—Goal of having 20 percent of recordations submitted through the new recordation pilot application.

We will replace the existing public records application (known as Voyager) with a significantly enhanced new portal. The new portal will provide access to more copyright records for both registration and recordation data, enhanced search capabilities, and improved interfaces for use by both external public users and Office staff.

  • Fall 2019—began development of a new the Copyright Public Record application.
  • Winter 2020—launch Copyright Public Record System pilot, allowing users to review internal and external search functionality and the web application.
  • 2021—continue iterative development of internal and external search functionality.

In addition, historical public records are being digitized, validated, and made available through our work under the Historical Records Program.

The Office is reviewing current licensing processes and assessing whether to make changes and develop new business requirements for automating internal workflow and integrating financial processes with the Library’s financial management system. Potential work may include improvements to forms and submission methods. This process will use the following timeline:

  • Fall 2020—begin development of user experience design and initial automated workflow.
  • 2021—continue iterative development of internal workflows.

Modernizing Supporting IT Systems

The ECS is just one part, albeit a large one, of the Office’s modernization efforts. The Office is also modernizing additional IT services, such as developing a business intelligence tool, updating public information capabilities, and improving tracking of physical materials. Each is expected to integrate with the ECS.

Business intelligence is a capability that allows the Office to see, manipulate, and exploit the data that applications are generating. The Office is preparing a business intelligence (BI) capability that will aid in analyzing Office functions. Future internal use of the BI tool will support improved dashboards and reporting from a common, trusted data repository that will support various Copyright Office divisions in their decision-making and service analyses.

The Office’s Public Information Office (PIO) provides support to the public, answering public inquiries on copyright and Office services. In 2021, the Office intends to engage experts to conduct a gap analysis and facilitate modernization roadmap planning. Anticipated activities will focus on improved analytics and streamlined responses, including a high-performing and high-quality, multi-channel customer contact center to support the copyright community and improve communications between Office staff and the public.

As the Office transitions to a new storage facility in 2021, it intends to procure a warehouse management system (WMS) that optimizes warehouse operations and functionality, promoting timely and reliable services.

Historical Public Records

As part of our commitment to preservation of and access to records, we are undertaking efforts to digitize print and microfilm records to make available our numerous historical public records, which include our card catalog, record books, and the Catalogs of Copyright Entries (CCE). Digitization is the critical first step, to be followed by additional improvements to turn digitized images into records.

  • Spring 2018—launched Virtual Card Catalog (VCC) proof of concept release 1.
  • Summer 2018—launched VCC proof of concept release 2, enhancing search functionality.
  • Spring 2019—launched VCC proof of concept release 3, completing the digitization and accessibility of more than 41 million card images from the card catalog.
  • Fall 2019—began digitization of historical record books to allow online access.

The long-term goal is to make these digitized historical public records available in a centralized manner via a modernized interface.

Non-IT Office Modernization

Modernization also involves updates to Office processes, organization, and culture.

The Office will integrate and improve its business processes, resulting in public services that are more user-friendly, flexible, and better able to accommodate future growth. This will include reviewing current business processes and staff responsibilities and recommending new methods and processes to reduce operational costs and improve business efficiencies via business process reengineering. This effort will be continuous throughout the ECS development process and will involve developing requirements for automated workflows and processes as needed and analyzing how these workflows interact with one another across divisions.

With all the various modernization work streams, it is important that the Office find ways to optimize its organizational structure and align personnel resources to the emerging needs that result from implementing the ECS and revised processes. To consider the organization and people aspects of modernization, the Office engaged the Office of Personnel Management’s Human Resources Solutions to perform an organizational analysis, workload assessment, and an associated position classification review.

Change management is a strategic goal of the Copyright Office, and organizational change management (OCM) provides us with tools to adapt to change. The OCM initiative at the Office involves the development of key change management processes and documents, staff training on change management practices, and strategic coaching on structuring and leading a complex business transformation. Staff training is underway to build an internal capability that supports continuous improvement in using OCM tools.