NewsNet 809: Electronic refusal letters and decisions in requests for reconsideration

by John Roberts on March 20, 2020 Bulletin Header

NewsNet 809
March 20, 2020

Electronic refusal letters and decisions in requests for reconsideration

U.S. Copyright Office staff are currently working remotely in an effort to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 respiratory virus. Ordinarily, when the Office refuses to register an application for copyright registration, the refusal letter will be sent to the applicant through U.S. Mail. Because many staff members are not in the Office, examiners cannot send hard-copy letters at this time.

To ensure that applicants receive a timely registration decision, the Office has decided to send refusal letters via email, instead of sending a physical copy through the mail.

When a claim is refused, the refusal letter will be sent to the email address provided in the registration application. The letter will be attached to the email as a PDF attachment. The attached PDF constitutes “written” notice of the Office’s registration decision per 37 C.F.R. § 202.5(b)(4) and 17 U.S.C. § 410(b).

Instructions for responding to the Office’s registration decision will be provided in an attached PDF. If the applicant wishes to request reconsideration of the refusal, the request must be mailed to the Office according to these instructions, and should not be sent via reply email.

Decision letters for requests for reconsideration to be sent by email

The Office will follow a similar approach when responding to a first or second request for reconsideration: the response will be sent to the email address provided in the reconsideration request. Responses to first requests for reconsideration will include instructions on how to submit a second request for reconsideration. Responses to second requests for consideration via email will constitute final agency action per 37 C.F.R. § 202.5(g).

Questions about these processes should be directed to the Public Information Office at: 1 (877) 476–0778.

Please also note that U.S. Copyright Office fees for many services, including the fee to request reconsideration of a refused registration, increased as of March 20, 2020. Applicants are encouraged to review the new fees before preparing any future submissions or requests. Information about the new fees is available here:

For more information about how COVID-19 affects Copyright Office operations, please visit

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