There are a couple of initiatives by the U.S. Copyright Office that may be of great assistance to Canadians (Americans and others too) who need to locate copyright owners, register copyright- protected works under the U.S. Copyright Office registration system, and understand how the U.S. Copyright Office consistently approaches and interprets the U.S. Copyright Act and the Office’s mandate.
New U.S. Copyright Office Website
The U.S. Copyright Office website has an entire new look. It is much cleaner and easier to navigate. On the home page, you are initially given four choices: register a copyright; record a document; search records; and learn about statutory licensing. As Canadians you are likely entering the U.S. Copyright Office website to register your work or to search the records to locate a copyright holder. Registering a work with the U.S. Copyright Office is described in detail on pages 52-55 of Canadian Copyright Law. This updated site has a tutorial on completing an electronic copyright registration. Another common use of the U.S. Copyright Office site is to search the records to locate a copyright holder and perhaps obtain permission to use a work. A tutorial that details each step of searching the records is also accessible from the home page of the website. There is tons of other useful information so worth taking a look and browsing through the new website.
Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition
On 19 August 2014, Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante released a draft of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition – a 1,200 page document that in many parts reads as a treatise on U.S. copyright law. The Compendium sets out administrative practices relating to registration and recordation policy. It remains in draft form for 120 days pending final review and implementation. Prior editions of the Compendium were for the most part internally directed and this third edition is a comprehensive overhaul that makes the practices and standards of the Office more accessible and transparent to the public. It addresses basic copyright principles such as standards of copyrightability, joint authorship, work for hire, and routine questions like fees, records retrieval and other procedural issues. The compendium will be of help to Canadians seeking in-depth information on what applications for copyright registration will be accepted by the U.S. Copyright Office, who may file a copyright registration application, examination practises, and copyright office services.