Copyright Office Revisory Board

The first appeals board at the Copyright Office, called the “Revisory Board,” was established in 1936. The Revisory Board was comprised of “not less than three persons of long experience in dealing with questions of law and with the procedure of the Copyright Office … .”2 The function of the Revisory Board was to take final action “on such questions as are brought before it from the Examining Board.”3 Although the Revisory Board was governed by majority vote, unless a recommendation of rejection was unanimous, the matter was referred either to the Assistant Register of Copyrights, to the Legal Advisor, or to the Register.4 In practice, it appears that appeals went initially to the Assistant Register.

Appeals came to the Revisory Board through its Chief, who was required to review personally the daily correspondence of the Examining Board. When the correspondence indicated a doubt about the propriety of the action taken, the Chief consulted with the Coordinating Assistant, who was also the head of the Examining Board. If these two could not resolve the matter, the case was referred to the Revisory Board, which frequently issued written summaries of their decisions. It is unclear whether applicants could request the Revisory Board to review a rejection.