How to Find a Copyright Owner

••• black copyright symbol image by Angie Chauvin from

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Finding copyright holders is a simple process thanks to the Public Copyright Catalog. This online catalog contains all of the copyright information registered with the U.S. Government from 1978 on. Any person may search the records for music, books, movies or any other copyrighted material. Once they find the proper item, then the full contents of the copyright submission are available, including the owner of the copyright.

Browse online to the Public Copyright Catalog.

Choose the criteria you want to use to find the copyright information. General searches, such as names, will yield several results. More specific information, such as the copyright number, will yield better results.

Search through the listings for the copyright you are looking for and click on its link.

Scroll down through the available information to 'Copyright Claimant' for the name of the person who owns the copyright. Some entries will also have a section called "Names." These are people who are important to the copyright for some reason, often former or future holders or representatives for the company or group that holds the copyright.


  • U.S. law protects intellectual property whether or not it is formally registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. If you do not find a registered copyright for a work in which you are interested, you still cannot assume it is in the public domain and free to use.


  • To find copyright records prior to 1978, you must visit, call or write to the Copyright Office:
  • Copyright GC/I&R
  • P.O. Box 70400
  • Washington, DC 20024
  • (202) 707-6787
  • fax: (202) 252-3519


About the Author

Nathan Adler began writing professionally in 2002. He writes primarily for eHow, focusing on technical articles and computer- and hobby-related topics. Adler has a Bachelor of Arts in technical communication and a Bachelor of Science in history from Michigan Technological University.

Photo Credits

  • black copyright symbol image by Angie Chauvin from