Cumulative Motion Pictures and Dramas

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned the digitization of the Catalog of Copyright Entries from 1891 to 1978 and their availability on the Internet Archive website at:   Seven more related volumes have just been added to the collection which you may find useful if searching for motion pictures or dramatic compositions.  The volumes are a cumulative series of these works, published at various times by the Copyright Office.

Cumulative Motion Pictures

Cumulative Motion Pictures





Dramatic Compositions 1870 to 1916

Dramatic Compositions 1870 to 1916




We found that the volumes were already available on the IA website but in other collections.  The motion picture volumes had been digitized by the Prelinger Library and the dramatic composition volumes by the Boston Public Library.  Both institutions concurred with our adding copies of their image files to the Copyright Records collection and thereby avoiding the cost of digitizing our own copies.

The need to include these volumes in the collection came as a result of discussions with frequent users of Copyright records.  The cumulative motion picture volumes are a convenient alternative to searching multiple annual CCE volumes.  The catalog of dramatic compositions includes all such titles registered from July 21, 1870 to December 31, 1916 inclusive, approximately 60,000 entries.  Both types of works had at times been registered in different classes and these cumulative volumes bring them together.

In two of the motion picture volumes, 1912 to 1939 and 1940 to 1949, the registration numbers as shown include a series code of ‘U’ for unpublished works or ‘P’ for published works.  This series code was included based on information found in the application for copyright; however, such codes were not included in the actual assigned registration numbers until 1947.  Prior to that year the number consisted of simply the class code, L or M, followed by a sequential number.  Knowing this can be important when searching for related records such as renewals or assignments which may reflect the registration number without the series code.

We hope that you find the volumes in the Copyright Records collection useful while we continue to work towards online data records.  Any thoughts or feedback is most welcome.


A brief status update on the digitization and public access project

We are nearing completion of the digitization of the Catalog of Copyright Entries with online availability through the Internet Archive.   645 CCE volumes are now available at ranging from the very first publication in 1891 up to and including 1978 and these cover all classes of works and all renewals.  A few volumes are still in process […]

Leaves of history: Some interesting stuff.

The image to the left shows a page from the 1855 record books of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York containing the original registration for Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.  Whitman provided the title to the court on May 15, 1855.  The record shows his claim as author and proprietor and it was […]