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About the Public Domain
Public Domain: Consists of creative materials that are not protected by intellectual property laws such as copyright, trademark, or patent laws.
Determining Public Domain Status
Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the U.S. (Cornell's Chart)
In-depth chart explaining the duration of a copyright term based on type of work, publication status, location of publication, and year of publication.
Catalog of Copyright Entries
The copyright status of a work can be determined using the Catalog of Copyright Entries to find when/if the work was registered or renewed. Online records from 1978-present Online records from 1891-1978
Print catalogs are in library storage—ask for them at the circulation desk. Using them can be difficult, so feel free to ask a librarian for assistance.
The Copyright Genie
Asks a series of questions about a work to help you determine whether or not it is public domain.
Copyright Renewal Database
Searchable index of copyright renewal records for books published in the US, 1923-1963. Includes only renewals, not original registrations, and only Class A (book) renewals received by the US Copyright Office 1950-1992.
(Works published after January 1, 1964 had their copyrights automatically renewed by statute, and works published before 1923 have generally fallen into the public domain. Renewals received by the federal Copyright Office after 1977 are searchable in their online database, but renewals received 1950-1977 were distributed only in print. The Copyright Renewal Database brings those records together in a searchable format.)
Out of Copyright (European Public Domain Calculators)
Calculators attempt to "answer the question if a certain work or other subject matter vested with copyright or neighbouring [sic] rights (related rights) has fallen into the public domain in a given European country."
Finding Public Domain Materials
Suggest a Resource
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