The United States Copyright Office has published an interim rule that allows for the elevation of applications that have been pending for six months or more to “special handling” status. Since the switch to eCO, the electronic Copyright Office filing system, the Copyright Office has been backlogged and notoriously slow in evaluating copyright registration applications. Due to this delay, many copyright holders have had to wait long periods of time to receive their registration certificates, which is a prerequisite to the filing of a copyright infringement suit in many jurisdictions.
Typically, a copyright holder must pay an additional fee to have his or her application elevated to “special handling” status. Under this interim rule, a copyright holder can convert a pending application to “special handling” status without paying the additional fee, provided the copyright holder can show that the application has been pending for more than six months and that expedited registration is necessary because the copyright holder is about to file suit for copyright infringement. More information can be found here, in the August 10 issue of the Federal Register.