Stanford's Copyright Renewal Database is a searchable index of the copyright renewal records for books published in the US between 1923 and 1963. Note that the database includes only renewal records, not original registrations, and only Class A (book) renewals received by the US Copyright Office between 1950 and 1992.
The period from 1923-1963 is of special interest for US copyrights, as works published after January 1, 1964 had their copyrights automatically renewed by statute, and works published before 1923 have generally been in the public domain. Between those dates, determining whether a work's registration was renewed as required has been a challenge. Renewals received by the Copyright Office after 1977 are searchable in an online database, but renewals received between 1950 and 1977 were distributed only in a semi-annual print publication which has not been made searchable. The Copyright Renewal Database brings those records together in a searchable format.
Note that, as of 1 January 2020, works first published in the US before 1924 have now generally entered the public domain. The Copyright Renewal Database still includes these records, though their status has changed.
The full data set for the Copyright Renewals Database is available for download. Stanford welcomes reuse of the data in other systems and search tools. We also welcome comments on the database. Please contact Mimi Calter at email@example.com.
7 May 2020
Users of the Copyright Renewal Database will be interested to learn about the work of the New York Public Library to digitize and make searchable the entire contents of the Catalog of Copyright Entries. See their blog for more information. The Copyright Renewal Database is focused exclusively on books, and this effort to make the full suite of registrations and renewals searchable is an important step.