Outage slams copyright registration system at Library of Congress

The crash apparently happened Aug. 29, and there is no "estimated time for service resumption."

Shutterstock image: Library of Congress interior.

The online system used to register initial copyright claims at the Library of Congress is down. Users looking to obtain copyright on books, art, music, film and other creative works are going to have to mail in paper copies of registration forms for the time being.

The system went down Aug. 29 after scheduled maintenance on the Library's James Madison building, which involved a power shutdown. An equipment failure during the restart resulted in the system, called eCO, going offline, according to a spokesperson for the Architect of the Capitol. The eCO website informs users that there is no "estimated time for service resumption." The spokesperson told FCW via email that the CIO team is "working to restore the system as quickly as possible."

The eCO system is apparently no picnic, even when it is fully operational. The site warns users that it is optimized for the Firefox web browser on machines running Windows 7, but for users of other browsers, the system "potentially could show less than optimal behavior." More caveats for users include warnings to disable pop-up blockers and third-party toolbars, and to set privacy and security settings to medium.

Information technology has been a longtime weakness for the Library of Congress, per a March 2015 report from the Government Accountability Office. The report found that the Library is not "effectively managing its investments" in its $119 million IT portfolio, it lacks a strategic plan for managing IT assets, and the lack of a permanent CIO is adding to the problems.

The Library has promised to deliver a strategic plan and spending framework for IT this month.

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