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Browning-Smith PC Comments on Proposed Rulemaking – Unpublished Groups

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These Comments are posted in hopes of encouraging others to make their voices heard.  The most important issue is that each persons unique voice is heard whether one agrees or not with the Proposed Rule.  For More Information Regarding the Proposed Rule – Please See Our Blog Post Here

17 November 2017

Karyn Temple Claggett

Acting Register of Copyrights and Director of the US Copyright Office

101 Independence Ave. S.E.

Washington, D.C. 20559-6000

Sent Via Upload to Regulations.Gov

 RE:    Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – Federal Reg. Vol. 82, No. 196

          October 12, 2016

          CFR 37 Parts 201, 202 – Unpublished Group Registration

 Dear Register Temple Claggett:

 Our Law Firm currently works with Creative Professionals who file on the average of over 5,000 (approximately) Copyright Applications for Registration annually with The US Copyright Office.  These Comments are based on the experience of our firm in working with our clients and does not reflect the comments of any specific client.  Creative Professionals such as Artists, Sculptors, and Illustrators annually create a large volume of works that are eligible for registration with your office.  The Restriction of five (5) works for unpublished group registrations would create an undue hardship on numerous Creative Professionals who rely on the “Unpublished Group Option” to allow them the opportunity to take advantage of the rights afforded to them under the Copyright Act of 1976.

Artists just like Photographers create work in a volume that makes individual registrations or limited number registrations cost prohibitive.  The Proposed Photographers Exception of seven hundred and fifty (750) works does not permit a more robust record or aid in the efficiency of the examination process.  Artists, Sculptors, and Illustrators would be penalized with higher costs and additional filing requirements while Photographers and certain sound recordings would receive special treatment.  US Copyright Law treats a photograph the same as it treats a two (2) dimensional work of art.  The Registration Process for a photograph and a two (2) dimensional work of art should be the same.

Proposed Alternative Solutions

The Notice stated that the purpose of the Proposed Rule was to create a more robust record.  This could be achieved by requiring each work that is submitted with an application to have a title or some type of recognition number and be separately listed on the application.  The Applications for Registration with large numbers of works require extra time of staff.  A Sliding Fee Schedule could be put into place where the fees would depend on the amount of works submitted.  For example, An Application for Registration of an Unpublished Group that included ten (10) to twenty (20) works would be charged a different fee than an application that have one (1) to nine (9) works.

The Digital Age and Social Media requires Creative Professionals to increase their efforts to protect their works.  Copyright Registrations become a powerful and valuable tool to prevent the misappropriation of a Creative Professionals work.  All Creative Professionals should be treated the same and have the same tools at the same cost available to them in order to protect one of America’s Most Valuable Assets – Creative Works.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office if I can provide any further assistance in this matter.


Tammy L. Browning-Smith, J.D., LL.M