Compendium I & II: Copyright Office Practices

According the the Copyright Office Website, "This manual, intended primarily for Copyright Office staff, is a general guide to practices and procedures. Two chapters revised in 1998 are available." Discussions between the Copyright Office and Professor Jon Cavicchi led him to offer Compendium II on the IP Mall. According to Professor Cavicchi the Office admits that Compendium II is very out of date and low priority to post on the Web. Compendium II is an internal manual of procedures to be followed by Copyright Office examiners. Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(2), it is available to the public. 37 C.F.R. § 203.4(a). However, internal manuals, unlike regulations, do not have the force of law. Kugel v. United States, 947 F.2d 1504, 1505-06 (D.C. Cir. 1991) (collecting cases). Furthermore, the Compendium is couched in generalities. 37 C.F.R. § 201 states …(7) The Copyright Office maintains administrative staff manuals referred to as its ''Compendium of Office Practices I'' and ''Compendium of Office Practices II'' for the general guidance of its staff in making registrations and recording documents. The manuals, as amended and supplemented from time to time, are available for purchase from the National Technical Information Service (Compendium I) and the Government Printing Office (Compendium II). They are also available for public inspection and copying in the Certifications and Documents Section.





Compendium I (July 1973 (PDF)

Compendium II (HTML)



Copyright Office Practices

The role of the Compendium has not been discussed in secondary sources dealing with Copyright Office practice and procedure. The Compendium seems to be the "poor second cousin" to the procedural manuals at the U.S.P.T.O.. A Westlaw search of the FIP-CS database which contains documents from the U.S. Supreme Court, Courts of Appeals, District Courts, Bankruptcy Courts, Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Tax Court, Military Courts, and related federal and territorial courts shows citation by courts to the Compendium totaling less than fifty. Compare this to citation to the MPEP of almost five hundred. Also, curiously, the TMEP has a low citation frequency of less than one hundred.

We hope you find the Compendium II of interest. Again, caveat emptor, as the Compendium is out of date and should be used at your own risk.

Compendium of Copyright Office Practices (Compendium II). SUBSCRIPTION. 1984. LIST ID CCP. Subscription service consists of a basic manual and two semiannual supplements for an indeterminate period. A general guide to the operating problems and practices for the staff of the Copyright Office with individual cases that represent common fact situations. Also known as Compendium II. File Code 1X. 0-16-017241-1 LC 3.11: S/N 930-001-00000-7 -- $71.00