The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has delivered a significant ruling in the case of Valancourt Books v. Garland. The court determined that the Copyright Office’s mandatory deposit requirement (17 U.S.C. §407) is an unconstitutional taking.

For years, the mandatory deposit requirement has been a cornerstone of the Copyright Office’s operations. It mandates that two copies of every copyrighted work be deposited with the Copyright Office, ensuring a comprehensive record of all copyrighted materials. However, Valancourt Books challenged this requirement, arguing that it amounted to an unconstitutional taking without just compensation.

The Court of Appeals sided with Valancourt Books, stating that the mandatory deposit requirement did indeed impinge upon the rights of copyright holders. This decision underscores the importance of balancing the needs of public records with the rights of individual copyright holders.

In essence, the removal of the mandatory deposit requirement could lead to a reduction in costs for those filing for or using the Copyright Office for services. Without the need to produce and send physical copies of copyrighted works, copyright holders save on production and shipping costs. Moreover, this ruling may prompt reevaluating other practices within the Copyright Office and the broader realm of copyright law.

In conclusion, the Valancourt Books v. Garland case ruling is more than just a legal decision. It’s a reflection of the evolving nature of copyright practices and the need to strike a balance between public interest and individual rights.

The decision can be read here: Valancourt Books v. Garland, No. 21-5203, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (2023).