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Where to check if a book is copyrighted

Where to check if a book is copyrighted

Sometimes, we need to use work from other writers, often work available online. Yet, in order to do so, it is essential to ensure that no copyright infringement is taking place.

For the lucky ones, the work figures on a website or a blog where contact details are available and it is possible to contact the copyright holder through the site or blog.

Unfortunately, it is not always the case and, to add insult to injury, a centralized place registering all online copyrighted material available does not exist yet. This means that finding if the work we want to use is protected or not is going to take some research through a collection of database, and even then, there is no guarantee to find the copyright holder, nor even to establish if there is one.

So here below is a non-exhaustive list of database recording copyrighted material that might be a good starting point.

With a bit of luck, that should do the trick.

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5 Responses to "Where to check if a book is copyrighted"


    Great write-up, very good to find out persons a little social obligation.

  2. Phil says:

    I would like to know if a book is written in Germany – German and then someone in Spain decides to translate it in Spanish will i be covered?

    Thanks for your help,

  3. Diana says:

    Copyright lasts for 70 years after the author’s death. So anything posted on the web by the original author will almost certainly still be in copyright. So will anything containing references to events that happened less than 70 years ago or that mentions technology that’s been around for less than 70 years.

    Always err on the side of caution. You want people to respect your copyrights so respect theirs in return.

  4. Shannon says:

    This could be really misleading advice. Copyright laws vary from country to country, but in the U.S., any creative expression is copyrighted *by default* — whether it is registered or not. The moment a writer puts pen to paper, his or her original work is copyrighted. Sharing it online does not weaken the copyright.

    It’s not okay to plagiarize, whether or not the original author is listed in any copyright databases.

    1. Patricia says:

      Hi Shannon, you are right, any work is copyrighted by the mere fact that it has been performed. So, anyone wishing to use someone else’s work should ask permission from the copyright holder. This is where the database listed above come in handy. Finding the rightful copyright holder is not always an easy task.

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