37 CFR 203.4 - Methods of operation.
(a) In accordance with section 552(a)(2) of the Freedom of Information Act, the Copyright Office makes available for public inspection and copying records of copyright registrations and of final refusals to register claims to copyright; statements of policy and interpretations which have been adopted but are not published in the Federal Register; and administrative staff manuals and instructions to the staff that affect a member of the public.
(b) The Copyright Office also maintains and makes available for public inspection and copying current indexes providing identifying information as to matters issued, adopted, or promulgated after July 4, 1967, that are within the scope of 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2). The Copyright Office has determined that publication of these indexes is unnecessary and impractical. Copies of the indexes will be provided to any member of the public upon request at the cost of reproduction.
(c) The material and indexes referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section are available for public inspection and copying at the Public Information Office of the Copyright Office, Room LM-401, The James Madison Memorial Building of the Library of Congress, 1st and Independence Avenue, SE, Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except legal holidays.
(d) The Supervisory Copyright Information Specialist is responsible for responding to all initial requests submitted under the Freedom of Information Act. Individuals desiring to obtain access to Copyright Office information under the Act should make a written request to that effect either by mail to the Supervisory Copyright Information Specialist, Information and Publications Section, Information and Reference Division, Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20559-6000, or in person between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. on any working day except legal holidays at Room LM-401, The James Madison Memorial Building, 1st and Independence Avenue, SE, Washington, DC. If a request is made by mail, both the request and the envelope containing it should be plainly marked Freedom of Information Act Request. Failure to so mark a mailed request may delay the Office response.
(e) Records must be reasonably described. A request reasonably describes records if it enables the Office to identify the records requested by any process that is not unreasonably burdensome or disruptive of Office operations. The Supervisory Copyright Information Specialist will, upon request, aid members of the public to formulate their requests in such a manner as to enable the Office to respond effectively and reduce search costs for the requester.
(f) The Office will respond to all properly marked mailed requests and all personally delivered written requests for records within twenty (20) working days of receipt by the Supervisory Copyright Information Specialist. Inquiries should be mailed to: Copyright Office, GC/I&R, P.O. Box 70400, Washington, DC 20024. If hand delivered, materials should go to: Copyright Public Information Office, LM 401, James Madison Memorial Building, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue, SE, Washington, DC. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. If it is determined that an extension of time greater than ten (10) working days is necessary to respond to a request due to unusual circumstances, as defined in paragraph (i) of this section, the Supervisory Copyright Information Specialist shall so notify the requester and give the requester the opportunity to:
(1) Limit the scope of the request so that it may be processed within twenty (20) working days, or
(2) Arrange with the Office an alternative time frame for processing the request or a modified request. If a request is denied, the written notification will include the basis for the denial, names of all individuals who participated in the determination, and procedures available to appeal the determination. If a requester wishes to appeal a denial of some or all of his or her request for information, he or she must make an appeal in writing within 30 calendar days of the date of the Office's denial. The request should be directed to the General Counsel of the United States Copyright Office at: Copyright GC/I&R, P.O. Box 70400, Washington, DC 20024. The appeal should be clearly labeled ‘Freedom of Information Act Appeal’.
(g) The appeal shall include a statement explaining the basis for the appeal. Determinations of appeals will be set forth in writing and signed by the General Counsel or his or her delegate within 20 working days. If, on appeal, the denial is in whole or in part upheld, the written determination will include the basis for the appeal denial and will also contain a notification of the provisions for judicial review and the names of the persons who participated in the determination.
(h) In unusual circumstances, the General Counsel may extend the time limits prescribed in paragraphs (f) and (g) of this section for not more than 10 working days. The extension period may be split between the initial request and the appeal but the total period of extension shall not exceed 10 working days. Extensions will be by written notice to the person making the request. The Copyright Office will advise the requester of the reasons for the extension and the date the determination is expected. As used in this paragraph “unusual circumstances” means:
(1) The need to search for and collect the requested records from establishments that are physically separate from the office processing the request;
(2) The need to search for, collect, and examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request; or
(3) The need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practical speed, with another agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the request or among two or more components of the Copyright Office which have a substantial subject matter interest therein.
(i) The Supervisory Copyright Information Specialist will consider requests for expedited processing of requests in cases where the requester demonstrates a compelling need for such processing. The term “compelling need” means:
(1) That a failure to obtain requested records on an expedited basis could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; or
(2) With respect to a request made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information, urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity. Requesters for expedited processing must include in their requests a statement setting forth the basis for the claim that a “compelling need” exists for the requested information, certified by the requester to be true and correct to the best of his or her knowledge and belief. The Office will determine whether to grant a request for expedited processing and will notify the requester of such determination within ten (10) days of receipt of the request. If a request for expedited processing is approved, documents responsive to the request will be processed as soon as is practicable. Denials of requests for expedited processing may be appealed to the Office of the General Counsel.