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July2007
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Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright

Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes, watch out! A new sleuth is on the scene, and this one is out to solve the mystery of intellectual property. Detective Cop E. Wright has a nose for the fine print and has investigated and uncovered what copyright law is and what it is not.

Cop E. Wright and friends on the trail of a mystery Library of Congress, Copyright Office, north basement hall, before move from Capitol. 1890–1930

The United States Copyright Office, along with the Library’s Educational Outreach and Web Services divisions, has launched an interactive Web site, "Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright," targeted to middle-school children with the goal of explaining U.S. copyright law. A cast of characters joins the detective in discussing how the law works.

The online experience comprises four activities: an animated music video following Cop E. Wright as she relates copyright law to some teen potential copyright applicants, a time line of historical copyright milestones, frequently asked questions and a rundown of the steps necessary to get a work copyrighted.

The U.S. Copyright Office was established in the Library of Congress in 1870. The office registers more than 500,000 claims to copyright annually, records and maintains documents related to copyrights, administers compulsory licenses and provides policy expertise to the U.S. Congress and executive branch agencies. The Copyright Office transfers more than 1 million items each year to the Library’s collections. For further information on the Copyright Office and registering creative works, go to the Copyright home page.


A. Cop E. Wright and friends on the trail of a mystery. 2007. United States Copyright Office. Reproduction Information: Not available for reproduction.

B. Library of Congress, Copyright Office, north basement hall, before move from Capitol. 1890–1930. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-75106 (b&w film copy neg.); Call No.: U.S. GEOG FILE - Washington, D.C.--Library of Congress ... <item> [P&P]