The Online Books Page

COPYRIGHT REGISTRATION AND RENEWAL RECORDS

Look up records by year

Database 1978-present
Catalog
of
copyright
entries
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978
1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939
1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929
1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919
Catalogue of
title entries
1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909
1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899

The Catalog of Copyright Entries, published by the US Copyright Office, contains a list of all copyright registrations received. This information can be used to This page includes pointers to electronic copies of copyright registrations. We're particularly interested in renewal registrations to help find public domain works, but we also collect original registrations. We'd like to get help from the community in putting this material online, and in doing useful analyses of it.

Summaries and indexes

At present, there is no single searchable index for all online copyright registrations. Below we list sites that allow a large selection of records to be searched. We list them roughly in chronological order of coverage.

Copyright records, by year

1891 - 1922

Our historic registration records page has pointers to original and renewal copyright records from before 1923. All copyrights from these years have expired in the US.

1923 - 1949

See this page for original and renewal copyright records from 1923 to 1949. Original copyrights from these years may still be in force; renewal copyrights from these years (for original copyrights from before 1923) have now expired in the US.

1950 - 1977 (with renewals of copyrights from 1922 - 1950)

These years are not yet in an official database; however, volunteers have scanned renewal page images for many book-related categories, and we're starting to see original registrations as well for some categories in these years. See also the transcriptions and indexes above. Books may be covered under copyrights in related categories. (For instance, if a portion of a book first appeared in a magazine, it may still be copyrighted under the magazine's copyright even if the book's copyright was not renewed.) A few renewals for previous years were not cataloged until the 1978 issue; relevant page images for books and periodicals are linked to below.

The page images for original and renewal registrations can be found here:

1978 - present (with renewals of copyrights from 1950 - 1977)

You can see copyright registration records from 1978 onward from the Copyright Office's Copyright Records web site. This will include renewals for copyrights from 1951 onward (and some, but not all, renewals for 1950 copyrights), as well as original registrations from 1978 onward. For information on how to use the system, see this file. Note that due to changes in copyright law, all works copyrighted in 1964 or later automatically had their copyrights renewed, whether or not a renewal was filed, and works copyrighted after 1977 have a single long term with no renewal.

If you'd like to work with the database as a whole, and are willing to run some code to process it, here is an unoffical copy of the Copyright Office data from Public.resource.org. Google has also made available an XML version of these records, slightly massaged.

Credits

This work is supported by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, which hosts this site, supports its editor, and has scanned many of the drama and image renewals, by the Universal Library Project at Carnegie Mellon, which scanned page images for the "books" portion of the renewal volumes, the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries, which provide much of the storage space for the scanned images, by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Newark Public Library, and Stanford University Libraries, which have supplied volumes to be scanned, by Google Books, which has scanned many of the Catalog of Copyright Entries volumes, by Philip Harper and Project Gutenberg, who are providing transcriptions of some of these records, and by volunteers and donors from the Internet community. Volunteer scanners of renewal pages include Dianne Bean, Mary Mark Ockerbloom, John Mark Ockerbloom, Juliet Sutherland, and Greg Weeks. If you'd like to help out, write onlinebooks@pobox.upenn.edu to find out more how you can get involved with this project. Thanks to everyone helping out. (Thanks also to the Copyright Office for compiling this material in the first place, and for maintaining the online records from 1978 onward.)


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