In late March, the United States Copyright Office proposed increased fees for copyright registrations (the public notice in the Federal Register is available at: http://www.copyright.gov/fedreg/2012/77fr18742.pdf).

In 1997, Congress amended the Copyright Act to allow the Register of Copyrights (currently Maria A. Pallante) to set fees for Copyright Office services (subject to Congressional review).  Any change in fees must be based upon the results of a study of costs incurred by the Copyright Office.  The most recent fee study was initiated in October 2011 and made available in the Register’s public report, ‘‘Priorities and Special Projects for the United States Copyright Office’’(available at http://www.copyright.gov/docs/priorities.pdf).

The Proposed Fees

Currently, registration fees are $35 for a basic application submitted online, and $65 for an application submitted using a paper form.  The Office proposes raising the fees for an online claim to $65, and the fee for filing a claim using a paper application to $100.

The Office also proposes a new, reduced fee of only $45 for a single author who files an online claim in a single work that is not a work made for hire. It is currently unclear whether a group registration – such as a registration of a group of related photographs – will be considered “a single work” and therefore eligible for the $45 fee, or whether it will be subject to the regular $65 fee.  See more here.

A full list of the proposed price changes is available in the table beginning on page 5 of the public notice.

Public Comment Period

As part of the fee setting process, the Copyright Office has requested public comment on the proposed changes before they are submitted to Congress for review.  Comments can be submitted at: http://www.copyright.gov/docs/newfees/comments. Comments should be submitted to the Copyright Office no later than May 14, 2012.