Methods of Approaching a Copyright Investigation There are several ways to investigate whether a work is under copyright protection and, if so, the facts of the copyright. These are the main ones: 1 Examine a copy of the work for such elements as a copyright notice, place and date of publication, author and publisher. If the work is a sound recording, examine the disc, tape, cartridge, or cassette in which the recorded sound is fixed, or the album cover, sleeve, or container in which the recording is sold. 2 Search the Copyright Office catalogs and other records. 3 Have the Copyright Office conduct a search for you.
Upon request and at the statutory rate for each hour or fraction of an hour used, the Copyright Office staff will search the records of registrations and other recorded documents concerning ownership of copyrights and will provide a written report. If you request a cost estimate, the Copyright Office will provide one. Estimates for searches are based on the information you furnish and are provided for a set fee that is applied toward the cost of the search and report. Fees for estimates are nonrefundable and may be applied to a search for up to one year from the date of the estimate. Requests must include an address and telephone number where you may be reached during business hours and an email address if available. Certification of a search report is available for an additional fee. Certified searches are frequently requested to meet the evidentiary requirements of litigation.