Answered By: Enid Karr Last Updated: Feb 02, 2018 Views: 350
First, try the WATCH List (Writers Artists and Their Copyright Holders) at U Texas Austin, where you can find contact information about writers and artists. Those contacts could be copyright holders, or they might be the authors representative or contact.
If you don't find the author listed there, try the US Copyright Office:
For books published after 1978, you can search the at the U.S. Copyright Office site.
For books published prior to 1978, records are in a printed volume called the Catalog of Copyright Entries (CCE). These records have been digitized and are available through the Internet Archive. Please see the US Copyright Office Circular on "How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work" (linked below).
For a substantial fee (in 2017, $200 for an estimate, $200/hour min 2 hours), you can have the the US Copyright Office do an investigation for you. Here is their contact information:
For general search requests, complete the search estimate form online, call the Records Research and Certification Section at (202) 707-6787, or send an email to email@example.com. For litigation search requests, call (202) 707-6787 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (domestic litigation) or email@example.com (international litigation).