Copyright Public Records Reading Room
Reading Room Hours
Monday–Friday; 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Closed Saturday, Sunday, and federal holidays
101 Independence Avenue, SE James Madison Memorial Building, LM 404 Washington, DC 20540-4680
The Copyright Office is an office of public record for copyright registration and related documentation. The Copyright Public Records Reading Room oversees approximately thirty-five million items. The collection is the most complete and accurate collection of copyright records of ownership in the world.
Note to Researchers Before Visiting the Copyright Public Records Reading Room
All researchers are advised to call the Copyright Public Records Reading Room prior to visiting. Many collections are stored off-site, and advance notice is needed to retrieve these items for research use.
Researchers are advised that no more than fifty items can be retrieved a day without special permission. Also, requests for records (including books) made after 2:30 p.m. will not be filled until the next day.
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 Public Records Catalog and the Copyright Public Records System (CPRS) pilot.
Using the Collection
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. Records from 1955 through 1977 also can be viewed online through the Virtual Card Catalog Proof of Concept.
Some application cards from the card catalog are now part of the CPRS. Additionally, some historical record books have been digitized as part of the Copyright Historical Record Books Collection. More records will be added to CPRS and online Copyright Historical Record Books Collection over time.
Conditions of Use
The collection may be consulted by any adult engaged in serious research who presents a valid Library of Congress issued reader card and agrees to adhere to the division's rules for the use of rare materials. Minors under sixteen years old are not admitted to the Copyright Public Records Reading Room.
All researchers are advised to call the Copyright Public Records Reading Room prior to visiting. Some collections are stored off-site, and advance notice is needed to retrieve these items for research use.
Requesting Collection Materials
Registered readers may request materials for use within the Copyright Public Records Reading Room; however, these materials may not be removed from the premises. Becoming a registered reader is simple, and anyone ages sixteen and up may apply for an official Reader Identification Card.
Collections Stored Off-Site
Readers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to telephone the Copyright Public Records Reading Room at (202) 707-5063 several days before visiting. Many collections are stored in other locations, and advance notice is needed to retrieve these items for research use.