After commercial motion picture film stock was invented and produced by Eastman Kodak, the kinetograph-kinetoscope project advanced rapidly and became the foundation for the commercial development of movies. Dickson made a short film titled "Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze" to demonstrate the invention. The film captures Edison employee Fred Ott sneezing. It was received in the U.S. Copyright Office on Jan. 9, 1894, as a copyright deposit. "Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze" is the earliest extant copyrighted motion picture in the Library of Congress collections. "The Life of Thomas A. Edison," a special presentation, documents the genius of Edison's inventions as well as his genius in marketing them.
Motion pictures were originally registered in the Copyright Office as a series of photographs because it was not until Aug. 24, 1912, that Congress added motion pictures to classes of works protected by copyright. These films on paper are part of the Paper Print Film Collection of
the Library. Since then films themselves have been registered for copyright.
In 1870, copyright functions for the nation were centralized in the Library of Congress under the direction of then Librarian of Congress Ainsworth Rand Spofford. The Copyright Office became a separate department of the Library of Congress in 1897, and
Thorvald Solberg was appointed the first Register of Copyrights.
For information on the Copyright Office and registering creative works, go to the Copyright Home Page.
A. W.K.L. Dickson, "Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze," Edison Manufacturing Co., 1894. Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. Call No.: LC 26A (paper pos)
B. "The Godfather" motion picture poster, 1972, Paramount Pictures Corp. Prints and Photographs Division. Call No.: POS - MOT. PIC. - 1972 .G74, no. 1 (C size), Reproduction No.: LC-USZC4-5194 (color film copy transparency)