Answered By: Deborah Kelley-Milburn
Last Updated: May 04, 2017     Views: 1610

United States Copyright Office registrations from 1978 to date can be searched online.

A search of registrations, renewals, and recorded transfers of ownership made before 1978 requires a manual search of government copyright files.  You can do that yourself at the Copyright Office.  Alternately, their staff will perform searches for a fee.  For further information, see Circular 22, How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work, and Circular 23, Copyright Card Catalog and the Online File.

SEE ALSO: WATCH (Writers, Artists and Their Copyright Holders) administered by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas and the University of Reading (UK). An invaluable resource for official and private copyright information, including contact information for the holders and/or their legal representatives.

Harvard affiliates, or those with queries about Harvard Library holdings, can contact our Copyright First Responders: or While the CFRs cannot give legal advice, they can often make suggestions based on a particular instance.

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