The Copyright Office has extended its interim rule allowing (in limited circumstances) free conversion of a regular application to the expedited “special handling” track if the regular application has been pending without Copyright Office action for over six months.
The Copyright Office’s transition from an antiquated and byzantine “paper” processing system to a streamlined electronic system has been, well, interesting. . . . One unintended consequence has been a backlog, particularly with respect to applicants who for whatever reason choose to still use the old paper application process. In recognition of this issue, the Copyright Office issued an interim rule in 2009, allowing applicants caught in that backlog for over six months to convert a regular application to special handling status (meaning that the application will typically be acted upon within one week) with a waiver of the special handling fee. Although special handing (if you choose it and pay the fee) is available upon a showing of compelling need due to (1) pending or prospective litigation; (2) customs matters; or (3) contractual or publishing deadlines, an applicant may only take advantage of the fee waiver upon showing that the applicant is about to file suit for copyright infringement.
This interim rule was set to expire on July 1, 2011, but the Office has now extended it for another year until July 1, 2012.
Here is the Federal Register notice: