17 U.S. Code Chapter 7 - COPYRIGHT OFFICE
- § 701 - The Copyright Office: General responsibilities and organization
- § 702 - Copyright Office regulations
- § 703 - Effective date of actions in Copyright Office
- § 704 - Retention and disposition of articles deposited in Copyright Office
- § 705 - Copyright Office records: Preparation, maintenance, public inspection, and searching
- § 706 - Copies of Copyright Office records
- § 707 - Copyright Office forms and publications
- § 708 - Copyright Office fees
- § 709 - Delay in delivery caused by disruption of postal or other services
- § 710 - Repealed. Pub. L. 106–379, § 3(a)(1), Oct. 27, 2000, 114 Stat. 1445]
Chapter 7 entitled “Copyright Office,” sets forth the administrative and housekeeping provisions of the bill.
Under subsection (a) of section 704, any copy, phonorecord, or identifying material deposited for registration, whether registered or not, becomes “the property of the United States Government.” This means that the copyright owner or person who made the deposit cannot demand its return as a matter of right, even in rejection cases, although the provisions of section 407 and 408 are flexible enough to allow for special arrangements in exceptional cases. On the other hand, Government ownership of deposited articles under section 704(a) carries with it no privileges under the copyright itself; use of a deposited article in violation of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights would be infringement.
With respect to published works, section 704(b) makes all deposits available to the Library of Congress “for its collections, or for exchanges or transfer to any other library”; where the work is unpublished, the Library is authorized to select any deposit for its own collections or for transfer to the National Archives of the United States or to a Federal records center.
Motion picture producers have expressed some concern lest the right to transfer copies of works, such as motion pictures, that have been published under rental, lease, or loan arrangements, might lead to abuse. However, the Library of Congress has not knowingly transferred works of this sort to other libraries in the past, and there is no reason to expect it to do so in the future.
The Committee added a new subsection (c) to section 704, under which the Register is authorized to make microfilm or other record copies of copyright deposits before transferring or otherwise disposing of them.
For deposits not selected by the Library, subsection (d) provides that they, or “identifying portions or reproductions of them,” are to be retained under Copyright Office control “for the longest period considered practicable and desirable” by the Register and the Librarian. When and if they ultimately decide that retention of certain deposited articles is no longer “practicable and desirable,” the Register and Librarian have joint discretion to order their “destruction or other disposition.” Because of the unique value and irreplaceable nature of unpublished deposits, the subsection prohibits their intentional destruction during their copyright term, unless a facsimile reproduction has been made.
Subsection (e) of section 704 establishes a new procedure under which a copyright owner can request retention of deposited material for the full term of copyright. The Register of Copyrights is authorized to issue regulations prescribing the fees for this service and the “conditions under which such requests are to be made and granted.”
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