25 Things To Do While Waiting for the Copyright Office

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Creative Commons License photo credit: somegeekintn

The U.S. Copyright Office recently raised its estimated time of arrival for a registration certificate to nine months. Nine months. This is up from three months and four months as recent estimates.

I have a longstanding history of criticizing the Copyright Office, especially its Electronic Copyright Office (ECO) system, which was supposed to make registrations faster and cheaper.

I’ve called for the Copyright Office to close, said that it hurts bloggers and explained how it helps make the copyright of U.S. citizens second-rate. Worst of all, those are just some of my pieces about the USCO over the years.

However, this is the final straw. With a nine month estimated turnaround time for a certificate, the ECO system is officially a dismal failure. Nine months was the average of the old paper system before the ECO was even on the drawing board. The ECO system has not made the registration process faster, it has failed to keep up with the demand and is now making things worse than they were.

But rather than create another post about the ECO itself and why the USCO registration system is flawed, I’ve decided to illustrate my point a different way. Here are 25 things that you can do in the time between when you file your ECO registration and when the Copyright Office expects you’ll get your certificate back.


  1. You could create a human life from conception through delivery.
  2. You could grow your hair approximately 4.5 inches longer.
  3. You could also grow your fingernails over one inch longer.
  4. Assuming eight hours of sleep, you could sleep roughly 90 days during that time.
  5. Assuming a healthy weight loss of 1-2 lbs per week, you could lose almost 60 pounds.
  6. Travel

  7. By walking just 2 miles per hour (low), ten hours per day, you could leisurely stroll across America… and back (approx 5,400 miles).
  8. On a bike, assuming a tame 15 miles per hour and eight hours of riding per day, you could travel approximately 32,400 miles, enough distance to circle the globe at the equator.
  9. Driving at just 55 miles per hour for 8 hours a day, you could travel 118,800 miles, about half the distance to the moon.
  10. Sports

  11. You could win the Super Bowl (from preseason through the playoffs).
  12. If you prefer baseball, you could win the World Searies, preseason through playoffs again.
  13. For NASCAR fans, you could almost win the Sprint Cup in Nascar.
  14. In basketball, you could win the NBA championship with time to spare.
  15. For hockey fans, you could win the Stanley Cup.
  16. Money

  17. If you are an average U.S. citizen you will earn approximately $24,000 in the time it takes to receive their registration.
  18. If you were Michael Jordan, on the other hand, would likely have made about $24.75 million during that time.
  19. Failing that, you could also file for and be granted bankruptcy, joining the over 1 million Americans who will do so during that time.
  20. On the other hand, you could start a business and join the estimated 450,000 who will do so during that time.
  21. Education

  22. You could complete any year at almost any U.S. high school or two semesters at almost any college, first day through last.
  23. Along the same lines, you could be halfway through an Associates Degree at a technical college.
  24. If you’re not in school, nine months is time enough to apply to, be accepted and start school at almost any school in the U.S.
  25. The Web

  26. You could register one or more of the approximately 18 million domains that will be registered in that time.
  27. You could also catch up on your Digg and be one of the 315 million visitors that will go there during that time.
  28. You also can create a new Facebook account and join the estimated 202 million that will do so during that time.
  29. Once you sign up for Facebook and get addicted, you’ll spend an estimated 5 days on the site total.
  30. You can also upload photos to Facebook knowing that they’ll each be just one of over 3.7 billion uploaded to Facebook during that time.
  31. Caveats

    There are several caveats to this. First, I based all math on an average month of 30 days and an assumption that nine months was equal to exactly .75 of a year. Also, I used latest-available statistics. Links provided when they were used.

    Also, to be fair, the USCO does say that “many” will receive their certificates sooner and there seems to be a lot of variety in the actual time frame it takes, though it seems almost everyone is reporting much longer waiting times.

    Have Something to Add

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    Bottom Line

    In an electronic world, any amount of time is too long to wait, especially for something this critical (and when there is a limited time frame to file suit). When I can get a TV from Amazon in a week, even a month is too long for the USCO. If the system can’t keep up with the digital world we live in, it needs to either be drastically reformed or scrapped completely.

    Hopefully this illustrates just how silly the system has gotten and how badly in need of repair it really is.

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