Teaching Legal Professionals How To Do Research
Teaching Legal Professionals How To Do Research

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Finding Copyrights from Around the World

Question: After 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, Editor of The 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.

There are, 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 database 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 records. 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, for example, Writers, Artists, and Their Copyright Holders (WATCH) and Authors Registry.

Editor: In addition to John's useful suggestions, see the article, Finding Copyrights and Trademarks for Free, on The Virtual Chase.



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Created: 24 August 2006
URL: https://www.virtualchase.com/ask_answer/finding_copyrights_worldwide.html

Suggestions: Genie Tyburski, tvceditor [at] virtualchase [dot] com