Copyright Office Issues Special Rules For COVID-19 Shutdown

By Tiffany Hu
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Law360 (March 18, 2020, 7:46 PM EDT) -- Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Copyright Office announced on Wednesday that it is implementing temporary rules with regard to electronic applications for copyright registration that need to be quickly processed.

The interim rules for the so-called special handling of applications were implemented in response to the Copyright Office's recent decision to close the Library of Congress buildings to the public and switch to a telework arrangement, the office said in a statement. The buildings are expected to reopen April 1. 

Under the rules, individuals filing their applications online can submit an electronic deposit of their work if a physical version is required with the applications, the office said. Examiners working remotely will then review the claims within five business days.

The electronic deposit — which does not replace the physical requirement — must also come with a declaration or statement certifying that it has the same content as the physical one, according to the office.

As for electronic applications that do not require physical deposits of the work, the Copyright Office said that the claims will continue to be examined within five business days by the teleworking examiners.

"These measures are exceptional in nature and temporary in duration, and are projected to terminate when the library reopens its buildings to the public," it said Wednesday.

The Copyright Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

--Editing by Jack Karp.

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