Historical picture of the Copyright Office

History and Education

paint brush jar

What is Copyright?

In copyright law, there are a lot of different types of works, including paintings, photographs, illustrations, musical compositions, sound recordings, computer programs, books, poems, blog posts, movies, architectural works, plays, and so much more!

Learn about Copyright
colorful painting of headphones

Engage Your Creativity!

When you write a story, create a work of art, compose or record music, or take a picture, you engage with copyright. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Copyright Office, we’ve pulled together a variety of resources to help you engage YOUR creativity.

Engage Your Creativity
Find Yourself in Copyright

Find Yourself in Copyright

Copyright serves all of us, incentivizing creation and enriching our culture. Find Yourself in Copyright explores how U.S. copyright law has evolved and how the millions of copyright claims registered with the Office illustrate the deep and varied nature of original works.

Find Yourself in Copyright
Historical document, constitution

U.S. Copyright Timeline

On May 31, 1790, the first copyright law is enacted under the new United States Constitution. The new law is relatively limited in scope, protecting books, maps, and charts for only 14 years. These works were registered in the United States District Courts.

Read the Timeline
Historical picture of the Copyright Office; Register Solberg

Register’s Biographies

Thorvald Solberg took office as the first Register of Copyrights on July 1, 1897. He was interviewed by President McKinley and appointed by John Russell Young, the Librarian of Congress.

More Register Bios
Child preparing to finger paint; Copyright for kids logo

Copyright for Kids

Copyright protects books, movies, videogames, songs, photos, and more – it applies to any work of the human mind or imagination, even a child’s finger painting!

Come explore
Statue of Liberty images

Copyright Lore

One of the most famous sculptures ever registered, and perhaps the largest, is the Statue of Liberty, designed by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. On August 31, 1876, the “Statue of American Independence,” as the Statue of Liberty was first named, was assigned registration number 9939-G.

More Copyright Lore