When Works Pass into the Public Domain

From Carrie Russell, Complete Copyright: An Everyday Guide for Librarians (American Library Association, 2004). Used by permission.

Time of Publication

Conditions

Public Domain Status

Before 1923

None

In public domain

Between 1923 and 1978

Published without a copyright notice

In public domain

Between 1978 and

1 March 1989

Published without a copyright notice, and without subsequent registration

In public domain

Between 1978 and

1 March 1989

Published without a copyright notice, but with subsequent registration

70 years after author's death*

Between 1923 and 1963

Published with copyright notice, but copyright was not renewed

In public domain

Between 1923 and 1963

Published with copyright notice and copyright was renewed

95 years after publication date

Between 1964 and 1978

Published with copyright notice

70 years after author's death*

Between 1978 and

1 March 1989

Published with copyright notice

70 years after author's death*

After 1 March 1989

None

70 years after author's death*

* If the work is of corporate authorship, copyright endures for the shorter of 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation.

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