How to run a copyright check for songs

Written by leslie howerton
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How to run a copyright check for songs
Search for a song's copyright information before using it. (music image by Mat Hayward from

Copyright in the United States is a form of intellectual property law designed to protect artistic works. Using songs or pirating music without the consent of the copyright holder is illegal, and it's punishable with fines ranging from £19,500 to £97,500. It costs £107 per hour with a two-hour minimum to request a search for records by the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO). Fortunately, you can search yourself for free.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Computer
  • Internet access

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  1. 1

    Visit the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) website,

  2. 2

    Click on the "Search Copyright Records" link on the home page.

  3. 3

    Click on the "Search Catalog" link.

  4. 4

    Type in the title of a song, the name of an artist or a keyword in the search field and press enter.

  5. 5

    Click on the song you're looking for. The website will list all the important information about who owns the copyright and its effective dates.

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