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Virtual Card Catalog Available Online

The following is a guest post by Shawn Gallagher, management and program analyst.

As a child growing up in the 1970s, one of my most prized possessions was a Luke Skywalker action figure. He was the hero of my youth, and I was surprised to learn recently that Luke wasn’t always a Skywalker. He was originally a Starkiller. I found this shocking (to me) information while browsing the card catalog in the Copyright Reading Room that’s located in a large room in Washington, DC.

image of copyright registration cards

Virtual Card Catalog proof of concept

Starting today, though, I can see that card from anywhere in the world. With the public release of the Virtual Card Catalog proof of concept, I can browse full-color scans of the cards in indexes from 19551970 and 19711977. That’s almost 18 million images.

Among those images, I see that Luke’s original surname was noted in a copyright registration from the Star Wars Corporation that appeared in December of 1975. This is fascinating to me personally, and I want to share the card so that others can see the same information. Undoubtedly, certain corners of the internet already knew this, but seeing the 40-year-old registration is enthralling.

This Virtual Card Catalog (VCC) is the first step of many. It consists of cards arranged just like you’d find them in one of those old card catalogs you used to see in libraries everywhere. The VCC is bare-bones and doesn’t have all the features of a modern search engine. But it is a great place to start. I encourage everyone to check it out. Other indexes will be released throughout the year, and enhancements will be added based on your feedback. Please visit the Virtual Card Catalog and use the feedback link and optional survey for your input.

When One is Better Than Two: Simplifying Deposit Requirements

The following is a guest post by Cindy Abramson, assistant general counsel. The Copyright Office has been hard at work trying to find ways to decrease wait times for registration applications and to decrease burdens placed on applicants. We are excited to announce today that we have published a new rule that helps further both […]

It’s a Wonderful Life

The following is a guest post by Samantha Kosarzycki, legal intern, Office of Public Information and Education. It just wouldn’t feel like the holidays in our house without the annual showing of It’s a Wonderful Life, Holiday Inn, Scrooged, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Out of all the heartwarming holiday classics, I always considered It’s […]

Single Application Updated

The following is a guest post by Whitney Levandusky, attorney-adviser, Office of Public Information and Education. Greetings, copyright applicants! When you visit the U.S. Copyright Office’s online registration on December 18, you may notice a few differences.  We’re updating our software! I’m here to talk about the Single Application.  It’s a simplified registration method that […]

Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions in the International Arena

The following is a guest post by Aurelia J. Schultz, counsel for policy and international affairs. At its annual meeting in Geneva in October, the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) discussed the future work of the Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore—called the IGC for short.  The IGC’s […]

New Circulars Launched

The following is a guest post by Whitney Levandusky, attorney-adviser, Office of Public Information and Education. On September 21, the Copyright Office released a fresh batch of circulars. Circulars are publications intended to provide a general audience with up-to-date and authoritative copyright information. They have been used by the Office since the late 1800s, and […]

65th Anniversary of the First Copyrighted Choreography—Although Not Copyrighted As Choreography

I taught group fitness classes for many years, and I choreographed hundreds of complex step routines. I learned from some of the best choreographers in the industry, all who were willing to share their genius. I always wondered how much of their work I could legally use. Could they register a copyright for it? Could […]