How to Find the Address of a Person Holding a Copyright

By Anna Assad

Copyright laws protect artistic works, such as stories, songs and movies. Although an author of a work doesn't have to register a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office for legal protection, many do because registration makes the protection easier to enforce. If you need the address of a copyright holder, you can find the information on the copyright registration paperwork. You can't use a copyrighted work without express permission from the copyright holder.

Step 1

Visit the official website of the U.S. Copyright Office. Use the online search to locate records for copyrights registered after 1977. You may search using various identifying words and phrases from the copyrighted work, such as a title or artist's name. The filed copyright ownership papers should show the address of the current holder.

Step 2

Contact the U.S. Copyright Office at 202-707-6850 to request a search for records of copyrights registered before 1978. You may call during the week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern time. Fees vary by length of search.

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Step 3

Check international copyright databases if you're unable to find the copyright registered in the United States. Visit the official website of the U.S. Copyright Office to view a list of international databases and databases for other countries, such as Canada.

Step 4

Review documentation and other information, such as webpage registration, of the work if you can't locate copyright records. A playbill, for example, may give you information about the play's author, including his current location.

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What Is Copyright Infraction?

With easily copied material available on the Internet, the likelihood of copyright infraction has increased. Copyright is a legal protection for the creators of original literary, musical, artistic and intellectual works. Protection generally lasts until 70 years after the creator’s death. A copyright owner has the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute, display and prepare derivative works of the original work. Protection automatically exists as soon as the work is in fixed or tangible form, but optional copyright registration gives the owner the right to sue in federal court to protect the copyright.

How to Check Copyright Names

Copyright protects an “original work of authorship.” Writers, musicians, artists, architects, software designers and photographers can all copyright their work. Works do not have to be registered with the United States Copyright Office (USCO) in order to have copyright protection, but registration makes it easier for authors to argue in court that a work is protected. You can check online to see if an author has registered a work with the USCO as long as the work was registered with the USCO after January 1, 1978. For works registered before this, you need to request a manual search.

How to Copyright Something in Canada

Under Canadian law, a copyright is created as soon as you reduce an original work of authorship to tangible form. Full legal protection, however, does not attach until you register your copyright with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. You don't have to be a Canadian citizen or resident to obtain copyright protection or register your copyright. Copyright protection in Canada guarantees you copyright protection in any nation that has signed an international copyright treaty.

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