Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out



									Searching the Copyright Database
This will be an overview of how to search the
    copyright database. You can find the
database through the U.S. Copyright Office’s
    web site at
This is the introductory
screen for the U.S.
Copyright Office web
site. The URL is
    /gov. To begin
searching, select
Registrations and
Documents under
Search Copyright
This next screen
shows three different
ways to search the
database – Books,
    Music, etc.,
    Serials and
    Documents. For
    most of your
    searches, you
will use the section
Book, Music, etc. on
    the left side of the
    screen. So you
    will click on this
This brings up a very
   simple search menu.
   You can search by
   author, title,
   claimant, registration
   number or do a
   combined search in
   all of these fields.
   We will do an author
   search by darkening
   that circle. Notice
   that I structure my
   search with last
   name, then comma,
   then first name.
   Note that
   capitalization is not
 Notice that unless you are
       working with a very
  unusual name, there may
   be several choices. It is
 good to have middle name
    if possible and to check
    several of the choices if
 you are not sure. Knowing
     the year of birth and/or
 death can also be helpful.
  In this case, I know which
     person on the list I am
interested in, so I will check
 that box. A simple click of
     the mouse selects this
      record. You can also
    choose between a brief
   record display and a full-
        record display with
 additional information that
          can be useful.
      Now you can see a
       description of the
 individual item. You can
  see the title of the work,
 that it is a soft sculpture,
 that I am both the author
  and the claimant (I have
 not assigned my rights to
another entity nor is this a
 work-for-hire), the date of
  creation and the date of
  registration. Notice that
   the registration number
 begins with a VA for work
  of visual art. If you click
    on the Special Codes
  section, it will bring up a
    box that explains each
character or number within
  the code. This can give
     you more information
  about the type of work it
   Next let’s go back to
 the search screen and
  see how to search by
     title of the work.
  Blacken the circle for
     title. Notice that
   articles like “A” and
“The” are not used and
that capitalization is not
    necessary. Let’s
   search by the title of
    my soft sculpture,
Fiddler’s Fruit. I do find
it helpful to search both
     with and without
  So now we just
select from the list
of titles and we will
 also choose the
 Brief (Summary)
And now you will see
 the same display as
when we searched by
author’s name. Just
  to be sure, let’s try
 another title search.
Let’s search for
 the book The
Violinist. Again,
 notice that we
don’t use “The”.
There is only one
title that matches
our search, so we
  will select it by
checking the box
and then clicking
   on the Submit
      And here is the
    information on The
Vanishing Violinist. Notice
    that the registration
 number now begins with
   TX for Literary Works
     (Hint: think Text –
  although this category
  could also include web
 sites). Just for fun, let’s
also see what other books
have been written by Sara
  Hoskinson Frommer. I
know she writes lots of fun
  mysteries known in the
  book trade as “cozies”.
   So now at the
  search screen,
 we’ll blacken the
circle for an author
search and type in
    our author’s
  name, with last
     name first.
And here we find
  her name and
 that she has 22
items registered.
   So let’s see
  what the titles
   are for these
 Some of these titles
look really interesting.
   Continuing on our
  musical theme, I’d
  suggest we look at
Murder in C Major, the
 third item on the list.
So we’ll check this box
and get the details for
 this book. However,
   you can check as
  many boxes as you
       And here is the
 information. Notice all
        of the useful
  information provided,
including the number of
 pages of the book, the
   publisher, when the
 book was created and
    its registration and
      publication date.
 Author searches do
  not need to be just
  individual people.
 You can also search
   by organization,
corporation and group
 names. Let’s search
  for works by Blind
And here is the list.
 We will check the
    box for Blind
    Melon, which
appears to have 4
 items registered.
And here are the
 items for Blind
  Melon. Let’s
  choose Soup.
 Notice that the
 number begins
   with PA for
Performing Arts.
    Notice that there is a
 claimant which appears
       to be two record
    companies and that
     there are individual
  names for people who
    wrote the words and
music. Most likely, these
    individuals were the
      original copyright
  “owners” of the songs,
but they have transferred
   their copyrights to the
 record companies. It is
 also useful to search by
Claimant when what you
      are searching is a
company or organization
  name. Now let’s try a
         search by the
    registration number.
So we blacken the
      circle for
 number and then
 search using the
  format of letter
code and numbers
  with dashes, tx-
And here we have the
  information for that
 particular registration
  number. This looks
like a compilation and
    commentary on
    poetry. Let’s try
 another search using
a registration number.
  So we will
search using
  And here is the
information on TX-
  485-200, a book
 Our Response to
the Lord, published
   by The Roman
 Catholic Diocese.

  When in doubt,
  you can always
use the Combined
  Search feature.
This is particularly
useful if you do not
 know whether an
  organization or
group might be an
    author or a
So we will blacken
   the circle for
Combined Search
 and type Wind in
 the Wheat in the
And we see one
listing for Wind
  in the Wheat
   with 1 item.
  Let’s select it
 and find some
 information on
    this item.
  And here is the
information. It is
 a book by Reed
 Arvin published
   by T. Nelson
   Publishers in
  Nashville. You
 can see that it is
 348 pages, was
   created and
published in 1994
and registered on
  March 1 1995.
   This has been a brief overview of how to search the
 copyright database. Please return to Module 4 using the
 Back button on your browser. Then please visit the U.S.
   Copyright web site at and
practice some simple searches of your own. This will help
you prepare for the Copyright Assignment, which I will be
                    distributing soon.

To top