Privacy: Copyright Public Records

Can I see my copyright registration records?

Yes. The Copyright Office is required by law to maintain records of copyright registrations and to make them available for public inspection. Once a registration is completed and a claim has been cataloged, it becomes part of the public record. Individuals have always been able to come to the Copyright Office to inspect its public records. Information in post-1978 registration records is also available on the Copyright Office’s website.

Will my registration records help provide contact information for someone interested in using my work?

Yes. Records of copyright registrations and documents that are recorded in relationship to them can be used by the public to identify the author(s) and copyright owner(s) of a work. The public record may also provide information about an agent of the owner who can be contacted to license the registered work or to request permission to use it.

Can I remove information that I don’t want publicized?

No. When you register a claim to copyright in a work with the Copyright Office, you create a public record of your claim to copyright. This record cannot be removed from the public record once it has been entered. All information you provide on your copyright registration will be available to the public and some of it on the Internet. You may wish to consider whether you want to include a birth date, nickname, alias, or any other optional detail you consider to be sensitive on your application.

Sample Catalog Records

The sample catalog records below show the information from copyright applications that is typically displayed in the Copyright Office online database. Highlighting is added to show certain personal information that may appear in the record.

How can I prevent personal information from being placed on the Copyright Office’s website?

All information provided on the application for registration will become a permanent part of the public record of the Copyright Office, and some of that information will be available online through the Office’s website, including the name and address of the copyright claimant. Any information provided in the rights and permissions section of the application will also be made available online, but providing rights and permissions information is optional. Applicants who want to include rights and permissions information but do not want to provide personal details can use third-party agents, post office boxes, or designated email accounts. If someone else submits an application on your behalf, it is still your responsibility to ensure that information that you want to keep out of the public record is omitted. In certain cases, it may be permissible to register a claim in a work either anonymously or pseudonymously (under a fictitious name). Other categories of information in copyright applications that may be made available online include the following: type of work, registration number, title of the work, author, authorship, preexisting material date of creation, date of publication.

Why is my copyright registration information now appearing on search engines such as Google?

Because your copyright registration is a public record, others can access it and may create alternative means to make the information in it more widely available. The Copyright Office is not responsible for the form or the substance of third-party redistribution of Copyright Office records.

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