Following up on February’s Grand Theft Photo, my experience as a Beta tester for the federal Copyright Office’s new eCo online copyright registration service stumbled to a close yesterday when my Certificate of Registration finally arrived. No biggie, but it took five-and-a-half months, having filed the application last October 12. This is actually a little longer than the average amount of time it takes the old fashioned way, via U.S. Mail, a gestation period shared by, ahem, goats.

I called the eCo hotline two weeks ago, and the assistant copyrightist was semi-aghast himself that it was taking so long. It was still worth it not to have to print out a bunch of forms, fill them out legibly, dig up an old CD to copy my pictures to, and snail mail it all through the anthrax screening process (which adds three-to-five days) before it even gets to the Copyright Office. Seems like one of digital’s great advances – speed – remains too newfangled for Uncle Sam.

—Neal Matthews
Contributing Editor