Copyright Compendium

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Chapter 2400

2406 Searches of U.S. Copyright Office Records

2406 Searches of U.S. Copyright Office Records 2406.1 Searches Conducted by Members of the Public


Any member of the public may search the U.S. Copyright Office’s public records using the Copyright Office’s Public Catalog. This database is available through the Office’s website. It contains records concerning registrations issued by the Office and documents recorded with the Office since January 1, 1978. It also contains records concerning preregistrations issued since November 15, 2005, registrations for vessel designs issued by the Office since July 29, 1999, and registrations for mask works issued since January 7, 1985.


Records relating to works registered before January 1, 1978, may be searched using the Office’s card catalog, the Catalog of Copyright Entries, or other physical records maintained by the Office. Many of these records are stored in the Public Records Reading Room and may be accessed by any member of the public who presents a reader registration card.


For additional information on conducting self-searches, see How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work (Circular 22); The Copyright Card Catalog and the Online Files of the Copyright Office (Circular 23); and Obtaining Access to and Copies of Copyright Records and Deposits (Circular 6).