Improving Productivity in Copyright Registration

AFMD-83-13: Published: Oct 22, 1982. Publicly Released: Oct 22, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO examined the productivity of the copyright registration process at the U.S. Copyright Office.

During fiscal 1981, the Copyright Office registered about 471,000 copyrights, at a cost of approximately $14.2 million. GAO learned that the time it takes to register a claim has more than tripled since 1956. GAO believes that copyright registration could be more timely and less costly. In particular, correspondence between the office and the claimant could be streamlined. GAO also noted that recommendations from past reports, which identified opportunities to improve the registration process' productivity, should be reviewed and considered by the office. While GAO found that actions recently taken by the office have improved the climate for change, GAO sees further possibilities for: (1) streamlining the workflow; (2) reducing the handling of correspondence; (3) measuring productivity and performance; (4) increasing the use of automation; (5) improving records management; and (6) studying the impact of low morale. GAO believes that it would be appropriate for Congress to monitor progress regarding the copyright registration process.

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