This form searches the U. S. copyright renewal records. Any book published during the years 1923-1963 which is found in this file is still under copyright, as are all books published after 1964 (although until 1989 they still had to have proper notice and registration). Books published before 1923, or before Jan. 1, 1964 and not renewed, are out of copyright. This file does not contain listings for music, movies, or periodicals.

Enter a few words from title or author:

The search is coordination-level: it finds records with as many of the words you type as possible; up to 100 are shown, in random order except that the ones with cross-references are last. It only shows the top group: if you give 4 terms and 3 are found in one item, that item is shown and none of the ones with 2 terms are shown.

Upper and lower case are folded; there's no way to request a case-sensitive search. Several dozen very frequent words including the, and, of, in, to, see, by, for, and with are ignored, as are all one-letter strings. Final s is removed, but no other suffixing is done (and the program does not understand endings like -ies). Accented letters such as or should be typed without the accent; the data is inconsistent about having them anyway. There is no spelling correction. There are no subject headings; only the title and author are likely to occur in a record. There is no fielded searching.

Double quotes may be used to specify a specific string; note that even the spacing must be right. To take the worst example, searching for william and james will find over 500 items while entering the quoted string "william james" limits the search to 18, but misses the four entries in the form James, William, as well as entries with a middle initial (not relevant here) or with extra spaces. Use quotes only when absolutely necessary.

Note that a renewal may be shown on a book but only the preface, illustrations, or translation are actually copyright. Sometimes this is indicated with an abbreviation "NM" meaning "new matter". For example, searching for charles dickens pickwick finds seven items, of which four are only cross references. The remaining three specify as "new matter" items such as illustrations, introductions, or an afterword; the main text of Pickwick Papers is public domain (The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club was published in 1836-37, and Charles Dickens died in 1870).

Some information on the meaning of the codes in the entries can be found at http://www.copyright.gov/docs/datafields.html. Questions about this web page should be addressed to Michael Lesk; I'm at lesk@acm.org for email. The renewal records are relevant for books published in the United States; different rules apply for non-US publications.