Monday, July 7, 2008

Copyright Form VA - Being Phased Out

So I went looking for a link to the Copyright Office's Form VA today, and when visiting this link:

This was the resulting page:

So, what gives?
(Continued after the Jump)

The Copyright Office is now phasing out paper registrations in favor of their eCO (i.e. electronic Copyright Office) system. They want you go to their eCO Online System to learn more, and begin your registrations that way.

The site directs you to use the Form CO, as noted here:
1 - Registration with Fill-In Form CO • The next best option for  registering basic claims is the new fill-in Form CO. Using 2-D  barcode scanning technology, the Office can process these forms  much faster and more efficiently than paper forms completed  manually. Simply complete Form CO on your personal computer,  print it out, and mail it along with a check or money order and your  deposit. The fee for a basic registration on Form CO is $45.
They go on to say on the site:
2 - Registration with Paper Forms • Paper versions of Form TX (literary works); Form VA (visual arts works); Form PA (performing arts works, including motion pictures); Form SR (sound recordings); and Form SE (single serials) are still available. The fee for a basic registration using one of these forms is $45 payable by check or money order. Form CON (continuation sheet for applications) is also still available in paper. These paper forms are not accessible on the Copyright Office website; however, staff will send them to you by postal mail upon request. Remember that online registration through eCO and fill-in Form CO (see above) can be used for the categories of works applicable to Forms TX, VA, PA, SR, and SE. See below for Group Registrations.

Also according to the site:
"Certain applications must be completed on paper and mailed to the Copyright Office with the appropriate fee and deposit. Those application forms appear " [here].
Of very interesting note is the following warning/disclaimer that I'd not seen before:
Notice: Please be aware that when you register your claim to a copyright in a work with the U.S. Copyright Office, you are making a public record. All the information you provide on your copyright registration is available to the public and will be available on the Internet.
This is of note because your registrations are accessible by the public now, albeit in a limited manner, and will likely be available in a much broader sense once OrphanWorks legislation, in whatever final form it is, passes.

It is important to note - sending in a Form VA for your registration is still perfectly acceptable. Using the eCO system may get you your completed registration certificate and registration number back much faster, but not with any more protections than the Form VA certificate will.

Alternatively, you can use the sample Form VA that I've completed, with explanations for what goes in each section, and why we've chosen to do that, by visiting this link. If you'd like to know more about the hows and whys of our registration process, it's in my Best Business Practices for Photographers book, Chapter 14, beginning at page 203. If you'd like to see every step of the registration process from inside the Copyright Office before all the modernization, we wrote about it and have photos for your viewing pleasure here.

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