How to Start a Niche Business on the Internet: Don’t Forget to Check Copyright Status
How to Start a Niche Business on the Internet: Don’t Forget to Check Copyright Status- Some works enter the public domain briefly, only to be re-certified. You should check the copyright status of any work you intend to use, even if you’re pretty sure the material is public domain.
First, do a quick check online with the copyright office at this address:
First, do a quick check online with the copyright office at this address: http://www.copyright.gov/records/cohd.html/
Or use this one: http://www.copyright.gov/records/index.html
if you would like to control the search by media type (documents, music, serials, etc.)
One of two things will happen:
1. You’ll find the work listed. This means it is still copyrighted.
2. You won’t find the work listed. This means the work is probably in the public domain.
If you want as close as possible to a guarantee that the work is in the public domain, then you’ll need to request a certified copyright search from the Copyright Office.
These searches are performed by Copyright Office staff, and the current rate is $20/hr. There is also an additional $20 fee for the certified search certificate.
You can minimize costs and keep your total bill as close to $40 if possible if you provide the staff with enough information. At bare minimum you should have the author’s name, the title of the work, the first publication date and name of the original publisher.
You may also want to include: any pseudonyms used by the author, ISBN or CALL numbers, and names of additional publishers.
First, call the Copyright Office and speak to a search specialist: (202)707-5860
He or she can give you an estimate of search costs.
Finally, send a copy of your search request in writing to:
Reference and Bibliography Section, LM-451
Copyright Office Library of Congress
Washington, D.C., 20559
Make sure you include a check or money for the estimated cost of the search as well as the certificate – and be clear that you would like this written certification forwarded to you. A simple, oral confirmation of copyright status, even from the Copyright Office, does not provide sufficient legal coverage should your use of the work be challenged.
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