Answered By: Gabe Gossett
Last Updated: Jan 14, 2016     Views: 62

Works in the public domain may be freely copied; however collections and edited versions of works in the public domain may be protected by copyright. Works which are in the public domain include works that have never been the subject of copyright protection and works whose term of copyright protection has expired.

Absence of notice of copyright cannot be relied upon to indicate that a work is in the public domain. In fact, for works created on or after March 1, 1989, notice is not required. Similarly, the fact that the author is deceased or the book is out of print does not mean that the work may be copied. When in doubt about the status of a work, it is best to contact the publisher's copyright permission department to determine whether the work is still under copyright or in the public domain.

Certain works created by the U.S. government, including documents prepared by an officer or employee of the federal government as part of that person's official duties, may also be freely copied. The right to copy U.S. government-created works without permission does not extend to documents published by others with the support of U.S. government funds, grants or contracts, or to portions of government documents which contain copyrighted material from other nongovernmental sources. It also does not extend to publishers' edited, annotated or compiled versions of such documents.

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