Copyright Office needs your help testing new system

Announcement for beta test program

As part of efforts by the Library of Congress to harness new information technology, the Copyright Office is looking for help with testing a version of its new automated registration system.

The electronic Copyright Office, or eCO, is scheduled to be released this summer to selected applicants for a beta test that will check the software before the office releases it to the public, likely later this year. The effort to take the primarily paper-based copyright registration process online is part of the Business Process Reengineering program. That program began almost seven years ago to improve online access to Copyright Office services and reduce processing times and operational costs.

The beta test will last several months and anyone can apply through the office’s Web site to be a tester.

The office, a service unit of the library, says the software has so far passed internal testing. The office hopes that a diverse group of users will sign up to test the program on the office’s Web site.

This first version of the software will support basic registrations such as literary, performing and visual arts, sound recordings, and choreographic and motion picture works, which account for more than 90 percent of copyright claims. However, there are plans to extend the program to more complex copyrights such as group registrations, renewals and corrections.

“It’s moving into the Electronic Age,” said David Christopher, special assistant to the register of copyrights. “If we can move to an electronic environment, it will be so much quicker and easier to process.”

The office has relied on paper-based registration to fulfill its mandate of creating public records of copyright registration and enhancing the collections of the library since its inception in 1870.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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