Copyright Office's Online Registration System Has Been Down All Week
from the time-to-fix-it dept
Back in March, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which tends to do really great work, came out with an absolutely scathing report on the disaster that is the Library of Congress, and didn’t beat around the bush in blaming the Librarian of Congress James Billington for being technologically illiterate and out of touch, leading to gross mismanagement. The report noted that the Library of Congress appeared to have no leadership or strategic plan in place to address technology issues. Just a few months later, Billington — who had served in the job for 27 years — announced his retirement. And apparently things were so bad at the Library of Congress, that rather than the usual bland platitudes, people working there were immediately willing to run to the press about how excited they were to be rid of Billington:
The reaction inside the library was almost gleeful, as one employee joked that some workers were thinking of organizing a conga line down Pennsylvania Avenue. Another said it felt like someone opened a window.
?There is a general sense of relief, hope and renewal, all rolled into one feeling,? said one staffer who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. ?Like a great weight has been lifted from our shoulders.?
Maureen Moore, who retired in 2005 but volunteers at the library, said she and her friends were thrilled.
?It?s a great day for the library. The man has had 27 years to do good things, and he hasn?t,? she said.
Anyway, given all that, it should be no surprise that the Copyright Office which is (rightfully) a part of the Library of Congress, is apparently experiencing a bit of technical difficulty these days:
The U.S. Copyright Office?s electronic registration system has been down since Friday, costing the office an estimated $650,000 in lost fees and causing headaches for approximately 12,000 customers.
The outage is part of a bigger computer failure at the Library of Congress, the federal agency that oversees the national library, provides Congress with research advice and operates the Copyright Office, a major player in the global digital economy.
Scheduled maintenance on the library?s James Madison Building resulted in buildingwide power outages, officials said. The library?s information technology office is trying to restore the systems, but officials can?t say when service will return.
Double ouch. Yes, yes, we all know that government computing is a total mess. But this is pretty disgraceful, especially for areas (both the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office) that are so closely associated with the technology world these days. Getting new management into the Library of Congress — in particular someone who understands technology and innovation — can’t come fast enough.