VIEWS: 7 PAGES: 28 POSTED ON: 8/4/2012
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 http://www.copyright.gov/ This is the introductory screen for the U.S. Copyright Office web site. The URL is http://www.copyright /gov. To begin searching, select Registrations and Documents under Search Copyright Records. 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 box. 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 necessary. 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 is. 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 punctuation. So now we just select from the list of titles and we will also choose the Brief (Summary) Display. 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 Vanishing 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 button. 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 items. 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 like. 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 Melon. 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 registration 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 registration number and then search using the format of letter code and numbers with dashes, tx- 459-333. 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 tx-485-200. 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 claimant. So we will blacken the circle for Combined Search and type Wind in the Wheat in the box. 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 http://www.copyright.gov/ and practice some simple searches of your own. This will help you prepare for the Copyright Assignment, which I will be distributing soon.
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