Works in the Public Domain

Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner. A work of authorship is in the "public domain" if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Works in the public domain include the following:

  • Works published in the U.S. before 1923
  • Post-1923 publications that did not satisfy U.S. copyright requirements (typically notice requirements) of the time
  • Publications of the U.S. federal government
  • Works donated to the public domain by the copyright holder (usually by providing a statement saying anyone may copy the work)

Public Domain Determination Tools

Copyright Registration Records


Content in this page was used or adapted with permission from one or more institutions. Please see acknowledgements.