Search Records

Pre-1978 Records

Copyright registrations and renewals covering the period 1870 through 1977 are accessible through a physical card catalog housed in the Copyright Office and also through a virtual set of volumes titled the “Catalog of Copyright Entries” (CCEs), which cover 1891 to 1977.

Post-1978 Records

The Copyright Office is an office of public record for copyright registrations and related documentation. Copyright registrations for all works dating from January 1, 1978, to the present, as well as renewals and recorded documents, are accessible through the Copyright Office online records catalog.

Digitization Project

The Copyright Office is an office of public record for copyright registrations and related documentation. Prior to 1978, copyright records were created in analog form, and housed in the Copyright Office. Once the “Digitization and Public Access Project is complete, it will provide web-access to all pre-1978 U.S. Copyright Office records.

Notices of Restored Copyrights

In 1996, copyright was automatically restored in certain foreign works that were then in the public domain in the United States but were protected by copyright or neighboring rights in the source country.

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Online Service Providers

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, signed into law on October 28, 1998, amended the United States Copyright Act, Title 17 of the U.S. Code, to provide in part certain limitations on the liability of online service providers (OSPs) for copyright infringement.

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Request a Search Estimate

The U.S. Copyright Office offers a search service for persons interested in investigating whether a work is under copyright protection and, if so, the facts of the copyright. For a fee, the office will search its public records and provide a report of its findings. Based on the information you furnish below, we will provide an estimate of the total search fee before conducting the search.

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Vessel Registration

The Vessel Hull Design Protection Act, title 17, Chapter 13 of the United States Code, was signed into law on October 28, 1998, providing for protection for original designs of vessel hulls. The law grants an owner of an original vessel hull design certain exclusive rights if application for registration of the design is made with the Copyright Office within two years of the design being made public.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How is a copyright different from a patent or a trademark?

Copyright protects original works of authorship, while a patent protects inventions or discoveries. Ideas and discoveries are not protected by the copyright law, although the way in which they are expressed may be. A trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs identifying the source of the goods or services of one party and distinguishing them from those of others.