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Copyright

This guide introduces the fundamentals of copyright for the purposes of teaching, writing, and publishing.

What's in the Public Domain?

Public domain works are not restricted by copyright and do not require a license or fee to use.

Material enters the public domain when:

  • A copyright term expires
  • A copyright owner fails to follow renewal rules
  • A copyright owner places the work in the Public Domain

The following categories of works are now in the public domain:

  • All works published in the U.S. before 1927
  • All works published with a copyright notice from 1927 through 1963 without copyright renewal being filed
  • All works published without a copyright notice from 1927 through 1977
  • All works published without a copyright notice from 1978 through March 1, 1989, and not registered within 5 years of publication

Public Domains Collections