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U.S. Copyright Office Concludes Study on Best Edition Requirements

Issue No. 989 - December 2, 2022


Today the U.S. Copyright Office published the results of its study on the advisability of modifying the Copyright Act’s best edition requirement to apply only to mandatory deposits for the Library of Congress (under section 407 of the Act) and not to registration deposits for the Copyright Office (under section 408 of the Act). The study was undertaken in response to a request from Senate Judiciary Intellectual Property Subcommittee Ranking Member Thom Tillis.

After consideration of public comments, consultations with the Library of Congress, and analysis of the best edition requirement’s policy objectives, as well as the practical operation of the relevant sections of the Copyright Act, the Office concludes that statutory amendments are not warranted at this time. Any benefits from the adoption of different standards for Library and registration deposits would be outweighed by potential adverse impacts on the Office, the Library and its collections, and those copyright owners who would need to comply with two different deposit requirements. Instead, compliance with the best edition requirement should be made more efficient and easier for copyright owners by careful implementation of the Library’s planned “e-preferred” collections policy for certain works, entailing a preference for the electronic version of a work when it is available in both electronic and physical formats, as well as other steps to add flexibility and modernize the deposit system.

Finally, the study addresses online security concerns identified by some commenters. The Office describes the steps that the Library takes to protect its technology network and digital deposits and stresses its commitment to mitigating security risks and protecting digital assets.

The full study is available on the Office’s website.