Thursday, June 22, 2017

Copyright - US Copyright Office Review Board Decisions

     At the beginning of June, the U.S. Copyright Office launched a database of copyrightability decisions by the Copyright Office Review Board. The database contains decisions from April 2016 through the present, and new decisions will be added.

     If a copyright application is refused registration, the applicant has two administrative appeals (see 37 CFR 202.5). The first appeal or reconsideration request is within the Copyright Office's Registration Program. The second appeal or reconsideration request is to the Review Board, which consists of three members: the Register of Copyrights and the Copyright Office’s general counsel, or their respective designees, and a third appointee named by the Register.

     If the Review Board affirms the earlier deciisons, then an applicant still has one last appeal. The applicant can file a court action alleging a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).  Under this claim, the applicant is alleging that the Copyright Office's decision was "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law". This is a tough hurdle to clear.

- Henry Park

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