In an effort to become a more modern and technologically advanced office, the U.S. Copyright Office is working on a pilot program for its digital recordation system, beginning in the spring of 2020.

Testifying in front of the Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Register of Copyrights and Director Karyn Temple laid out a few details of the program that will not only digitize the records system, but make it easier for users to gain access to historical records.

“We are completely reimagining how the Copyright Office uses IT to better serve our public,” Temple said. She mentioned that the Copyright Office is still in a paper-based system, but wants people within the office to more easily record certain assignments and transfers digitally. This pilot program is the “most significant” ongoing project for the Copyright Office, currently.

Temple estimates that the full launch of the new system will be in 2024.

In other efforts to modernize the office, Temple said that the office maintains its stance that Congress should allow the office to use funds generated from fees with more flexibility.

“I will say that we have requested and asked for Congress to give us more flexibility in terms of use of our fees,” Temple said. “For example, we would like to have the ability to use our fees that are unobligated over the course of multiple budget years so that we would be able to engage in more long-term planning like modernization activities.” In addition to long-term planning, Temple said that flexibility with these fees would help the office brace for lapses in appropriations.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.