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ICE Exchange Preview: The Copyright Registration Game

Copyright protections are critical to credentialing organizations, in part to deter intellectual property theft and protect the reputation of the organization. When the U.S. Copyright Office ruled out certain copyright registrations in 2017, credentialing professionals were alarmed.

Although test makers have since had some say in regulations, it remains key to stay in the know when it comes to the latest from U.S. Copyright Office.

As part of the ICE Exchange, Matt Ferris, director of test development at the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA), will present “New Rules to the Old Game: Preparing to Register Secure Items with the US Copyright Office.”  

We spoke with him to learn more about the session, the importance of this subject and what attendees can expect to learn. 

What is your experience with the topic and why does it interest you? 

Like many organizations, NBCRNA has registered its test forms with the U.S. Copyright Office for years. When we learned about the interim rulemaking in July 2017 — that seemed to rule out any copyright registration for computer adaptive testing (CAT) or linear-on-the-fly (LOFT) tests — we were shocked, as were colleagues like Jessica O'Keefe at the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) or Jennifer Semko at Baker McKenzie. 

The rulemaking bypassed the typical comment period, but fortunately the testing industry was able to be heard. A new rulemaking in November 2017 introduced Group Secure Registration of Test Questions (GRSTQ). The whole process of grappling with some myopic regulation has really highlighted, for me, the need for credentialing professionals to stay informed and use their influence in securing improvements. 

Why is this topic important for those in the credentialing community? 

The investment that credentialing professionals make in intellectual property is enormous and it is often a key capital asset for carrying out their missions. The threat of intellectual property theft is pretty much omnipresent, so the protections of copyright registration, which are substantial, should be of interest to any organization that takes its mission seriously. And right now, the regulatory complication and uncertainty of making the best use of that protection is daunting. The more that we can share information on how to work with the system, the more protected everyone should be. 

What are three takeaways attendees will get from your session? 

Attendees will have a general idea of the application and onsite appointment process at the U.S. Copyright Office. They will understand some of the gray areas that still exist in how the GRSTQ process is applied and how others have negotiated them. They will also take away some ideas about how to weigh the costs and benefits of copyright registration.

The most surprising thing about secure copyright registration is how radically it differs from the way most of us do business in 2019. The slow, human-examiner-centered, in-person approach with all its ambiguities and inconsistencies really demands a reset of expectations. Sharing experiences could be helpful for a first-timer in just getting acclimated.

Additional Resources

Interested in learning more about copyright protections for standardized testing? Check out this related white paper:

Register for the ICE Exchange

The ICE Exchange is designed for all levels of credentialing professionals in the public and private sectors and offers an opportunity to learn about some of the most pressing topics in the industry, with plenty of opportunities to network with peers. 

Join us this year in San Diego, California, from Nov. 18-21. Registration is open here, with early bird savings available.

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