Public Domain


Public Domain

Works in public domain are not protected by copyright. They are definitely those that were published:

  • Before 1923
  • Anytime between 1923 and 1963 with copyright notice but not renewed
  • Anytime between 1923 and 1977 with no copyright notice
  • Anytime between 1978 and March 1, 1989 with no copyright notice and no registration, or to which author has given up rights (Gassaway, 2003 and Hirtle, 2012 as referred to in Butler, Rebecca P. Copyright for Academic Librarians and Professionals. Chicago: American Library Association, 2014, p. 22. See also Hirtle Chart

See any of these tables for details: 

To determine if something is in public domain or not:

  • Do your own research for free. Website for online searching: Good for works registered in 1978 and later.
  • Pay the U.S. Copyright Office $165 per hour at a minimum of two hours to search their records. (Butler, p. 90)