Historical picture of the Copyright Office

History and Education

Historical document, constitution

Timeline of Copyright Law

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
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
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

History of Copyright Law

Historical Copyright Law
Past Published Versions of The Copyright Law of the United States

Copyright Law Revision Studies
From 1955 to 1960 the Copyright Office conducted a program of studies of the Copyright Law and practices for Congress

Past Legislation (114th Congress and previous)
Previous Legislative Action and Developments from Congress related to Copyright

Copyright Testimony to Congress (prior to 2013)
Previous Legislative Action and Developments from Congress related to Copyright

Past Reports, Publications, and Announcements

Annual Reports
Past Annual Reports of the U.S. Copyright Office

Other Reports and Publications
Past Reports and Publications issues by the U.S. Copyright Office

NewsNet Archive
Archive of Past NewsNet articles and announcements

ML (Mailing List) Announcements
Past News articles and information related to Copyright published and sent through the Mailing List until 2003 with the introduction of NewsNet