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For more information about copyright terms and for help in determining if a work is still protected by copyright, see:
Did you know?
Everything created in "fixed and tangible" form today has copyright protection. That protection lasts for 70 years after the author has died!
The term of a copyright depends on a number of factors, including the work's publication status and the date of first publication. Because copyright law has changed throughout the years, copyright terms vary.
Generally, the following rules apply:
- Not published: Life of the author plus 70 years
- Published before 1923: Copyright protection has expired; the work is in the public domain
- Published without a copyright notice between 1923 and 1977: Copyright protection has expired; the work is in the public domain
- Published between 1923 and 1963 and copyright not renewed: Copyright protection has expired; the work is in the public domain
- Published between 1923 and 1963 and copyright was renewed: 95 years after first publication
- Published between 1978 and 2002: rules vary depending on registration; see Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States
- Published after 2002: Life of the author plus 70 years
This site is intended for informational purposes only. Library staff members cannot give legal advice. For legal advice, you should contact an intellectual property attorney.
Questions? Need help? Ask a Librarian
Davidson College Library, Box 7200, 209 Ridge Rd., Davidson, NC 28035-7200
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