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Copyright Office Issues Interim Regs


The U.S. Copyright Office has issued new interim regulations regarding the registration of unpublished works being prepared for commercial distribution in media that the Register of Copyrights determines have had a history of pre-release infringement. The office also sought comments on whether use of Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser would create difficulties in the preregistration process.

The preregistration process was outlined in the Artists' Rights and Theft Prevention Act of 2005, and was intended to give artists protection against pre-release infringement of their work prior to authorized commercial distribution. Originally, the regulations required that artists follow up any pre-registration with regular copyright registration of their work within specified time frames. The new revisions allow artists who preregister but fail to re-register before the deadlines to remain eligible for awards of statutory damages and attorney's fees in the event of copyright infringement.

Professional photographers were among the many artists who had sought broader protection under the act. Trade groups, such as the Advertising Photographers of America and the American Society of Media Photographers, expressed satisfaction with the changes. The APA noted, however, that photographers should endeavor not only to register their work but also to meet all registration deadlines under the law.

Background information and a copy of the regulations are available at copyright.gov.