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Copyright, Fair Use, and More

Public Domain

Public Domain Image 

"The term “public domain” refers to creative materials that are not protected by intellectual property laws such as  copyright, trademark, or patent laws. The public owns these works, not an individual author or artist. Anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission, but no one can ever own it." -- Welcome to the Public Domain - Rich Stim      

The timing for when a particular type of format of work enters the public domain varies widely depending on a variety of factors including but not limited to:

  •  Unpublished vs. published works
  •  Date first published in the U.S.
  •  Publications by foreign nationals       
  • Publications by U.S. citizens living abroad
  • Sound recordings published outside the U.S.     

                      Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States  -  Cornell University Library

How Can I find Public Domain Works


Check out the following sites for resources in the public domain:

University of Pittsburgh Library System. (2021). How Can I Find Public Domain Works?