Online Copyright Resources

Compiled by the AAUP Copyright Committee

The following resources explore questions that we in the AAUP community are frequently presented with, from the basics of copyright law to contractual issues, fair use and permissions, and rights and licensing. This material is being provided for your information, but AAUP is not endorsing the content of any of the sites, nor is any of this information a substitute for qualified legal advice.

Basic Copyright Information

U.S. Copyright Office
U.S. government site providing information on U.S. copyright law, copyright registration, searching records, law and policy, FAQ, and links to other sites.

Public Domain Chart
Essential tool for calculating when U.S. works pass into the public domain.

Copyright Renewal Databases

"It was published after 1923... but I don't know if copyright was renewed. Is it public domain??" Now you can easily search copyright renewal records for Class A (Text) works published between 1923 and 1963 at a new database unveiled by Stanford University.

Another copyright renewal search tool is available through the Rutgers University School of Communication, Information, and Library Studies.

The UPenn libraries offer information about, and scanned pages from selected periods, the Catalog of Copyright Entries.

Additional transcriptions of the1923-1963 US Catalog of Copyright Entries (Renewals) are available from a UK web site:

Kingkong also offers the"New General Catalog of Old Books and Authors" a growing database of the dates of book publication and authors' deaths (as many non-US copyrights are based on life+x years).

International Copyright Law References

Database of International Copyright Law
Columbia University's Copyright Advisory Office has put together this online database, allowing users to browse and compare the copyright laws between (currently) 12 nations.

WIPO (World Intellectal Property Organization) provides an even larger collection of full-text IP legislation and treaties from around the world; search for "Copyright and Related Rights" in their Collection of Laws for Electronic Access.

Online Copyright Tutorials

University of Texas Copyright Crash Course
Basic tutorial with sections on ownership, fair use, permission, and a twelve-question test at the end.

AAP New & Updated Copyright Primer Slidesicon.pdf
A more advanced, in-depth presentation, including definitions, concepts, and recent developments such as TEACH Act and DMCA. This is a Powerpoint companion to The New and Updated Copyright Primer published in book form by AAP (2003).

Copyright Websites and Articles

AAP Copyright Resources
General resources including Imprints List, Permission dept. contact names, best practices in processing permissions, etc.

Copyright Clearance Center (CCC)
Permission agency online site. Their copyright resources section includes compliance guidelines, articles on rights management, and links to many useful sites including other intellectual property associations and licensing organizations.

Legal news and articles on all areas of law with a focus on technology and Internet issues. Sections on contracts, copyright law, intellectual property, domain names, and other topics that provide a broader context.

Publishing Law Center
Attorney Lloyd Rich's website featuring news and resources devoted to publishing law issues. Excellent resource for discussion of publishing contracts. Other topics include electronic rights, fair use and right of publicity, copyright and trademarks, and internet law.

Orphan Works: Statement of Best Practices
Report by the Society of American Archivists, January 12, 2009, revised June 17, 2009.

Intellectual Property—Copyright, Trademark, Patent (General)

Oppedahl & Larson LLP
One law firm's website containing FAQs about trademark and patent law, and other intellectual property issues.

FindLaw—Legal News and Commentary
Excellent resource and search tool for legal news and cases. Click on Search FindLaw tab at top and search by keyword.

Locating Authors and/or their Estates

WATCH File (Writers, Artists, and Their Copyright Holders)
Database of copyright holders whose archives are located in libraries and archives in North America and the United Kingdom.

Author's Registry
Resource for locating hard-to-find authors for permissions requests. Searchable by email inquiry.

Visual Material

Bridgeman v. Corel
Are photographs of public domain materials copyrightable? Bridgeman v. Corel is a landmark case establishing only thin copyright in slavish reproductions.

Using Film Stills in Scholarly Worksicon.pdf
Society for Cinema Studies position paper considering the publication of film stills in scholarly works as fair use.