Q. How can I tell if something is public domain?
If a published work is in the Public Domain it means that it belongs to the public and is free to use.
Public Domain items include:
- works whose copyright has expired
- those that never had a copyright
- works created by the U.S. government.
- The U.S. Constitution is in the public domain, but Westlaw’s KeyCite and Key Number system is copyrighted by West.
- Shakespeare’s plays are in the public domain, but a book about the plays published last year may still be protected under copyright.
- Stock photographs are copyright protected, but millions of images from the British library have been released to public domain.
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