Copyright Research Guide
Created 2009, updated 2016
Author: Library Services
This guide is intended to provide users with helpful resources for determining copyright status and obtaining permission to publish copyrighted materials.
U.S. Copyright office
The homepage has been created with the desire to serve the copyright community of creators and users, as well as the general public, and includes such topics as "What is copyright?" and the latest on orphan works.
U.S. Copyright Catalog
Search for works registered and documents recorded by the U.S. Copyright Office since January 1, 1978.
WATCH (Writers Artists and Their Copyright Holders)
A database of copyright contacts for writers, artists, and prominent figures in other creative fields in the U.S. and U.K., run by the Harry Ransom Center and University of Reading Library. Also includes links to other U.S. and U.K. copyright resources.
FOB (Firms Out of Business)
A database of publishing, literary, and other firms that have gone out of business, run by the Harry Ransom Center and University of Reading Library.
Answers the question "Is it protected by copyright?" for works first published in the U.S.
Copyright Clearance Center
This Program is made available for your use by the rights licensing experts at the Copyright Clearance Center.
Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States chart
This quick guide helps determine public domain status (updated yearly), and also includes information on sound recordings and architecture.
The Committee on Intellectual Property's section of the College Art Association website
Resources on U.S. copyright: Fundamentals and Documents; Image Sources and Rights Clearance Agencies; Fair Use Guidelines, Practices, and Policies; Copyright Outside the United States and Legal Assistance.
University of Minnesota Libraries Copyright Services, Using Copyrightable Materials
Includes "Thinking Through Fair Use," a worksheet that helps you conduct a four-factor review of your proposed fair use.
Crash Course in Copyright/Copyright Tutorial
This curriculum is designed to give teachers a comprehensive set of tools to educate students about copyright while incorporating activities that exercise a variety of learning skills.
Orphan Works: Statement of Best Practices
This statement from the Society of American Archivists describes the best practices regarding reasonable efforts to identify and locate rights holders.
Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians
Provides information regarding reproductions and fair use for purpose of study, research, and teaching.
American Library Association Copyright Advisory Network
Resources include: Copyright Genie, to help determine if a work is covered by copyright and calculate its term of protection, a Fair Use Evaluator, and Public Domain Slider, a tool to help you determine whether or not a work is in the public domain.
Foreign Copyright Chart
A quick guide of copyright law for non-US copyrighted works.
Resources for the Visual Arts and Images/Artists Rights
DMLA (Digital Media Licensing Association)
Includes a link to "Orphan Works and OrphanSearch" a service which may assist in finding the creator of an orphaned image.
DIRC (Digital Image Rights Computator)
This program is intended to assist the user in assessing the intellectual property status of a specific image documenting a work of art, a designed object, or a portion of the built environment.
ARS (Artists Rights Society)
VAGA (Visual Artists and Galleries Association, Inc.)
ARS and VAGA are artists' rights organizations and copyright collectives representing the intellectual property rights (copyright) of visual artists in the United States. Through agreements with affiliated international organizations, they also represent the copyright interests of thousands of foreign artists worldwide. Both Web sites provide a partial list of artists represented.
Locating Author or Artist Life Dates
Getty Vocabulary Program's Union List of Artist Names (ULAN)
A structured vocabulary containing names and other information about artists, patrons, firms, museums, and others related to the production and collection of art and architecture.
Library of Congress Name Authorities
Locating Publisher Information
Association of American Publishers, List of Members
Includes an alphabetical list with links to most American publishers’ websites and contact information.
Ulrichs Periodicals Directory
Authoritative resource of bibliographic and publisher information for more than 300,000 periodicals of all types.
Literary Market Place (LMP) and International Literary Market Place (ILMP)
LMP is the directory of American and Canadian book publishing. ILMP provides publishing data for more than 180 countries around the world.