consulting many colleagues, vendors and your helpful intellectual
property primer, I have an unanswered research question. Is there a
way to search for copyrights worldwide? If not worldwide, is there a
resource, such as Dialog's Trademarkscan databases, that allows for
searching by individual country?
John Mark Ockerbloom,
Online Books Page, responds.
John Mark Ockerbloom: There is no
comprehensive index of copyrights around the world. It would be
difficult to create one since, under the Berne Convention,
copyrights are created the instant something is recorded without
registration or other formality.
however, a number of registries of information on certain
copyrights, some of them national and some of them private. For
instance, the U.S. Copyright Office makes available a
of registered copyrights and renewals that covers 1978 to present.
Similarly, Canada has a copyrights
database covering 1991 to present.
Private entities have digitized some pre-1978 U.S. copyright
The Catalog of Copyright Entries at The Online Books Page
indexes what is available.
There are also
private registries for the copyrights of various authors and
estates. These indicate where permission inquiries can be sent. See,
Writers, Artists, and Their Copyright Holders (WATCH) and
In addition to John's useful suggestions, see the article,
Copyrights and Trademarks for Free, on
The Virtual Chase.