After conducting a fair use evaluation, you may have determined that your use of a copyrighted work requires permission. At this point, it's necessary to figure out who is, in fact, the copyright holder of that work if it's not readily identifiable. Often a publisher website will provide a form or information about how to request permission to reuse content for which they hold the copyright. The Copyright Clearance Center may represent the interests of a copyright holder, in which case you can search for the title or author of a work directly in their website. More in-depth research may require exploring registration records maintained by the U.S. Copyright Office or compiled by other institutions.
The following resources offer starting points for this research; however, you may also contact your subject librarian or the Scholarly Communication Coordinator should you need assistance.
Stanford University offers a database of copyright renewals submitted for books published between 1923 and 1963. 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. Between these dates, a renewal registration was required to prevent the expiration of copyright.
Beginning in 1964, copyrights were automatically renewed by statute for works. Items published before1923 have generally fallen into the public domain. But between 1923 and 1964, a renewal registration was required to prevent the expiration of copyright. Renewals received by the Copyright Office after 1977 are searchable in an online database; however, renewals received between 1950 and 1977 were announced and distributed only in a semi-annual print publication. The Copyright Office does not have a machine-searchable source for this renewal information, and the only public access is through the card catalog in their DC offices.