How do I Perform a Copyright Search?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 31 May 2019
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Performing a copyright search is quite simple, though this may depend a bit upon the country in which you are trying to search for a possible copyright. In general, you can search for a copyright utilizing the appropriate website or by contacting the office or governmental agency that is involved with copyright registration for a given country. This process is typically quite simple, and an online search for a particular copyright can be done quickly and in a number of different ways. To perform a copyright search in the US, for example, you can go to the website for the US Copyright Office and conduct a simple catalog search.

A copyright is a protection given to an author, artist, or other individual or business that claims ownership of a work of art or similar creation. This is a form of intellectual property protection, and the specific laws regarding such works can vary somewhat between different countries. Many countries, however, abide by similar laws regarding copyright establishment and protection. In general, the copyright for a work of art is established from the moment that work is created, though many people register works with a government or private agency in order to more concretely establish copyright protection.


If you wish to perform a copyright search to determine if a particular work has been copyrighted, or to see if your work has been registered, you can typically begin at the website for a country’s copyright office or agency. In the US, for example, the website for the US Copyright Office provides a simple search function that allows anyone to conduct a copyright search in a matter of seconds. You can use this site to perform a copyright search using the name of a work of art, a particular artist or company, the registration number for a copyright, or even using keywords related to various works.

Some countries do not provide governmental registration for copyrighting works of art, and instead utilize private companies to assist people in registration. You can typically visit the website for such a company and perform a copyright search in order to determine if a copyright in which you are interested has been registered with them. A copyright search can also typically be done by contacting a copyright office or company through the mail or by telephone. This type of search, however, may also have a fee associated with it, so an online search is typically the fastest and easiest method.


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