U.S. Copyright Office looks to overhaul its enterprise copyright system

The register of Copyrights and director of the agency shared plans to modernize internal workflow and external digital services during a Wednesday hearing.
Shira Perlmutter, Register of Copyrights and director of the U.S. Copyright Office, testifies before the House Administration Committee on June 26, 2024, in Washington, D.C. (Screenshot)

The U.S. Copyright Office is looking to overhaul its IT infrastructure, the top agency official said during a Wednesday House hearing. 

Appearing before the House Administration Committee, Shira Perlmutter, the register of Copyrights and director of the U.S. Copyright Office, said the agency is modernizing its approach to workflow and services, with a particular focus now on mapping out next steps and timing on registration for its new Enterprise Copyright System. 

“One of the things that I’ve been most excited about with the new ECS registration system is that it will be much easier for the average person to use without having any expertise,” Perlmutter said. “There will be a lot of help given in terms of understanding terms, knowing what categories to use, knowing what forms to use — I think that will be a tremendous benefit.”

The updated ECS, which works to make all of the available services digitized, searchable and accessible, is just one part of the office’s move to modernize services and internal processes.  


The office expects to initiate a limited pilot of the standard application and e-deposit upload functionality by the end of 2024, according to Perlmutter. She said the pilot “will allow us to gather user feedback to guide further development.”

The U.S. Copyright Office has completed “fully half” of historical record digitization so far this summer, she added, with the total number of records now available online at over 26,000. 

Within the pace of work for registration, Perlmutter said her team is looking to accelerate “the largest and most complex and most visible” part of the ECS. 

“The first ECS component to be developed was recordation given to take an antiquated, paper-based process into the 21st century, which is used for more than 80% of submissions,” Perlmutter said. “Average processing times have fallen from months to weeks.”

Additionally, the director said the office has tripled the number of information technology teams working on the system and “we’re further reallocating resources to enable rapid progress.”


Perlmutter reported that the system “continues to function effectively with processing times at an all-time low” with just some limitations. The new ECS version, she said, will be a “major improvement.” 

Caroline Nihill

Written by Caroline Nihill

Caroline Nihill is a reporter for FedScoop in Washington, D.C., covering federal IT. Her reporting has included the tracking of artificial intelligence governance from the White House and Congress, as well as modernization efforts across the federal government. Caroline was previously an editorial fellow for Scoop News Group, writing for FedScoop, StateScoop, CyberScoop, EdScoop and DefenseScoop. She earned her bachelor’s in media and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after transferring from the University of Mississippi.

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