The US Copyright Office has proposed adopting an average 41% increase in fees in order to account for inflation.
In June 2017, the office contracted accounting and consultancy firm Booz Allen Hamilton to conduct a new cost study. The research found that the office’s base year costs were projected to be approximately $67.7 million for 2017 and estimated that costs will increase by roughly 1.8% each year for the five years thereafter.
The study highlighted that the office has never recovered its full costs from user fees. Instead, it recovers around 60% of all costs through fees, with the remainder being provided through appropriated dollars from the US treasury.
The Copyright Office evaluated the findings from the consultation and has suggested a significant hike in fees. Services that the fees cover include filing copyright applications; the renewal of copyright; the transfer of copyright ownership; and the issuance of a receipt.
“Overall, the office has determined that fees should increase an average of 41% to account for inflationary increases and the expected cost of information technology modernisation over the next several years,” said the office.
It claimed that the higher costs will decrease overall fee processing by 14%, at least temporarily. However, this decrease will be offset by a more “appropriate level of cost recovery”.
“In total, the office estimates that revenues generated by these proposed fees will be roughly $41 million per year.”
Other findings from the research showed that basic registration applications are the most costly of all the office’s fee-generating services.
“Currently, cost recovery for single and standard applications stands at 51%, and has fallen well below the target established during the prior fee study of 71% for electronic claims and 66% for paper applications,” said the report.
The office has suggested increasing the fees of standard applications from $55 to $75.
It currently costs $91 to process and examine a standard application.
The public will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes at https://www.regulations.gov/ before the fee schedule is submitted to the US Congress. Comments must be submitted by July 23.