Copyright Office puts IT modernization into high gear

Copyright Office puts IT modernization into high gear

For several years, the U.S. Copyright Office has been planning a modern copyright infrastructure that can accommodate both present and future needs for protecting and licensing copyrighted works -- a system that must account for creators ranging from video game developers to Internet streaming companies to music composers. The recently released Provisional Information Technology Modernization Plan and Cost Analysis is the road map resulting from all that planning.

“It is clear that making incremental improvements will not be enough,” United States Register of Copyrights Maria A. Pallante wrote in the report’s executive summary. “We must shift the approach entirely, and the IT Plan therefore provides a flexible platform that others can build upon for the effortless protection and licensing of copyrighted works.”

Released Feb. 29, the plan calls for the Copyright Office to phase out its legacy systems, move its IT, data and infrastructure to the cloud to minimize costs, ensure security controls and leverage mobile technologies.

User-facing services and systems and data storage will be consolidated and standardized on a new platform. Using a platform-as-a-service cloud service model for mission critical applications  -- such as management of the copyright registration and recordation systems, the online database of records of copyright ownership and -- will give the Copyright Office a smaller core infrastructure  to control operations like user authentication, directory services and manage back-office equipment such as printers and voice hardware.

Noncore mission services, both IT and non-IT shared services, will be sourced rather than built so that the Copyright Office can transition its IT operating model to focus on governance and vendor management, including IT service management and IT operations support.

According to the plan, the Copyright Recordation System will migrate from paper-based intake to an automated system that allows recording parties to enter their own information using metadata standards. The Office will integrate its registration and recordation databases that are now stored in a comprehensive System of Records to easily connect registration to licenses, transfers and the public domain.

When the four-phase plan is implemented, the Copyright Office will be able to accept registrations through third-party apps on all devices, and offer direct, real-time access to the Copyright Office’s database of information about copyrighted works through application programming interfaces.

The agency estimated that the modernization effort will cost $165 million over a five-year implementation timeframe, with operating costs afterwards requiring an increase in the base budget of $25 million.

Written comments on the plan must be received no later than March 31, 2016.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.


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