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Copyright and Fair Use

Information and resources about copyright law and fair use. PLEASE NOTE: this guide contains legal information but does not constitute legal advice.

What is Public Domain?

There are three reasons a work may be in the public domain:

  1. Copyright protection has expired.
  2. The work is ineligible for protection.
  3. The work was placed in the public domain.

Most federal documents and images are in the public domain, as long as they were produced during the normal course of business and the federal government has not contracted with an outside provider.

Source: Copyright Compliance Made Simple: Six Rules for Course Design, by Linda K. Enghagen, J.D. Used with permission by the author.