The records refer to works as diverse as books, photographs, musical compositions, sound recordings, motion pictures, software, and more, including works fixed in electronic formats. Among the records in the Copyright Office are original and renewal registrations, dating back to 1870, as well as assignments, transfers and terminations of copyright ownership. Such records are open to the public and are used for many different purposes, including copyright-related commerce, such as licensing, and for historical documentation of authors.
There are five primary sets:
- Copyright Record Books containing the early records of copyright ownership
- Application forms in bound volumes also referred to as Copyright Record Books
- Historical Copyright Card Catalog
- Published volumes of the Catalog of Copyright Entries (CCE's)
- Copies of recorded documents pertaining to copyright ownership