Duke University Law School
Stanford University Libraries
Peter B. Hirtle, Cornell University Copyright Information Center
A presentation prepared by Barbara Ingrassisa (2011)
A handbook for determining the copyright status of works created between 1/1/1923 and 12/31/1977.
Guide for determining the copyright status of a work.
When a work is not covered by copyright (because the copyright term has expired, the creator has released the work, or the work was never copyrighted) it is in the public domain. A work that is in the public domain is a creative work that is not protected by copyright and which may be freely used by everyone.
The reasons that the work is not protected can include:
Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner.
The copyright has expired.
In the US, andy work published anywhere in the world before 1923 is in the public domain.
The content was released into the public domain by the copyright holder.
Created by a US government agency.
In the United States content produced by a government body, and paid with tax dollars, resides in the public domain.
The content does not rely on human creativity for an editorial or analytic perspective. (e.x. there are 365 days in a year).