How to Check Copyright Names

By Lisa Magloff

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.

Checking Records Registered After January 1, 1978

Step 1

Navigate to the “Search copyright information” page of the USCO website (see Resources). Click on “Search the Catalog.” You will be taken to the search page. Read the Search Hints on the bottom of the search page before entering your search terms.

Step 2

Enter the search term in the “Search for” box. The search term can be the name of an author, the title of a work, a registration or document number or a keyword.

Protect against infringement by registering a copyright. Get Started Now

Step 3

Enter the search category, such as “Title” or “Author” in the “Search by” box. Chose the number of records you want to view per page in the “Records per page” box. Click on “Begin Search.” You will be taken to a results page where you can view the results of your search.

Checking Records Registered Before January 1, 1978

Step 1

Make an online request asking the Copyright Office staff to search copyright records for you. Navigate to the USCO's online search request estimate form (see Resources).

Step 2

Fill in the information required on the form, such as title of the work, author, year created and registration number. You do not have to provide all of this information, but the more information you can provide, the faster the search will be.

Step 3

Enter your contact details and click “Submit.” A member of the USCO staff will contact you in two to five days with an estimate of the cost for the search. As of 2011, the USCO charges $165 per hour, with a minimum of two hours, for this search. Once you have the estimate, inform the USCO whether you want them to conduct the search.

Protect against infringement by registering a copyright. Get Started Now
How to Check If Something Has a Copyright on It

References

Resources

Related articles

How to Copyright a Poster

Federal copyright laws protect the creative expression of ideas, such as designing and producing a poster. A creative work can be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office online or by mail. Both methods require the same three basic steps: completing a registration application, paying the required fee and submitting your work to the Copyright Office.

How to Copyright in Illinois

Copyright law in the state of Illinois, like all states, is governed by federal law. The U.S. Constitution vests in Congress the power establish copyrights, which was most recently done by enacting the Copyright Act of 1976. The act gives the authors of original works exclusive rights in their works, which applies to the work as soon as it is created in a fixed form, such as a document, video or audio recording. There is no requirement to register the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office; however, registered copyrights receive greater protection and remedies than unregistered copyrights.

How to Run a Copyright Check for Songs

Copyright protection begins automatically as soon as a song is created and fixed in a tangible medium (such as a compact disc). Nevertheless, many artists decide to take the additional step of registering their songs with the United States Copyright Office. This allows the artist to bring a claim for copyright infringement should the need arise. You can search for registered songs using the United States Copyright Office records.

Related articles

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 ...

How to Find the Address of a Person Holding a Copyright

Copyright laws protect artistic works, such as stories, songs and movies. Although an author of a work doesn't have to ...

How to Register My LLC Copyright

Copyright is the exclusive right to copy, distribute or adapt a creative work. This right can belong to the artist who ...

How to Protect Songs and Poems by Copyright

Original songs and poems are protected by copyright the moment they are fixed in a tangible medium of expression. ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED