U.S. Copyright Office Board of Appeals Decisions

Decision of the Appeals Board - U.S. Copyright Office 1995-2015


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Welcome to the home of the Decisions Of The Appeals Board - United States Copyright Office 1999-2012. The Board was established in 1995 as published in the Federal Register below. It is the hope of the IP Mall that these decisions will shed some light upon what precedent the Office has established on the issue of subject matter for copyright protection.


Professor Nimmer in his treatise, Nimmer on Copyrights states that, [w]hen the Copyright Office refuses to register a claim to copyright, it notifies the applicant in writing of the refusal to register. After such notification, the applicant may appeal within 120 calendar days, by sending a letter requesting reconsideration and setting forth his or her objections to the refusal. The cost of a first appeal is $ 200 plus $ 20 for each additional claim in a related goup. If registration is again refused, a second appeal for reconsideration may be submitted. The cost of a second appeal is $ 500 plus $ 20 for each additional claim in a related group. The decision of the Board of Appeals for the second appeal constitutes final agency action. See 5-21 Nimmer on Copyright 21.01, 21.01 COPYRIGHT OFFICE GENERAL INFORMATION AND BASICS OF REGISTRATION, Nimmer on Copyright (2003, Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group.)

Historically, there was no formal procedure for appeal within the Copyright Office itself, but an informal ''appeal'' could be made to the Chief or Assistant Chief of the Examining Division, with final resort to the Register. See Kaplan, ''The Registration of Copyright,'' Copyright Office Study No. 17. More recently, two appeals were allowed within the Examining Division. Compendium II of Copyright Office Practices 606.04. At present, the Copyright Office allows one appeal within the Examining Division and has established a Board of Appeals within the Copyright Office to consider a second appeal. Serving on that Board is ''the Register of Copyrights, the General Counsel, and the Chief of the Examining Division, or their respective designees.'' See 2-7 Nimmer on Copyright 7.21, 7.21 Refusal by the Register to Accept Registration and Deposit of a Work, Nimmer on Copyright (2003, Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group.)

60 Federal Register 21983-21984 (May 4, 1995)
37 CFR Part 202
Modification of Appeal Procedure
ACTION: Notice of policy decision.

SUMMARY: The Copyright Office of the Library of Congress issues this Policy Decision modifying the appeal procedure regarding refusals to register a copyright claim. Currently, this procedure is specified in Compendium II of Copyright Office Practices and an applicant whose claim is rejected is entitled to two reconsiderations, each handled within the Examining Division. The modified procedure establishes an interim system with a Board of Appeals to reconsider the second appeal that is the final agency action.
EFFECTIVE DATE: June 5, 1995.


Copyright Decisions