How To Find Out Who Owns The Copyright So You Can Obtain a License?

As first step you should consult the copyright notice on the copy. This may appear the copy itself or on packaging containing the copy. Any documentation that comes with the copy may also be help you determine the identity of the owner. If you have a photocopy or other reproduction that does not contain a notice of copyright or any other information that indicates ownership, you may try to locate an original copy of the work. The absence of a copyright notice does not mean that the work in question may be freely copied.

Because copyright ownership can be transferred, you should understand that your copy may not identify the current copyright owner. As a first step you can consult the publisher of the work who may be able to refer you to the current owner. For unpublished works, permission to copy can usually be obtained directly from the creator of the work.

The U.S. Copyright Office maintains records of registered works by author and title, some of which may be searched online. More information can be found in the Copyright Office Circular 22 – How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work, or by calling the Copyright Office at (202) 707-9100.