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Providing Access to 70 Million Copyright Records

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This is a guest post from Mike Burke from the U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress.

The U.S. Copyright Office has a comprehensive set of records about books, periodicals, music, motion pictures and other works that were registered with the Office between 1870 and 1977.  The records include transfers and assignments of rights reported to the Office.  Until now these records have existed only in paper and microfilm form, but the Office has an exciting project underway to convert these non-digital records and make them available via the web.  Over 13 million catalog cards have already been digitized as well as more than half of the Catalogs of Copyright Entries published since 1891.  This latter set is available for searching through the Internet Archive.

Attention now has turned to making the full set of records available via the web.  The Copyright Office has launched Copyright Matters: Digitization and Public Access, a blog to publicize the project’s goals, objectives and progress as well as to elicit input from interested parties.  If you have interest in the ownership records for intellectual property or in using them to learn more about the cultural history of the United States, please visit the blog and feel free to submit your thoughts and ideas about getting the most out of these records.

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