WHEN WORKS PASS INTO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN
By Lolly Gasaway University of North Carolina Definition: A public domain work is a creative work that is not protected by copyright and which may be freely used by everyone. The reasons that the work is not protected include: (1) the term of copyright for the work has expired; (2) the author failed to satisfy statutoryformalities to perfect the copyright or (3) the work is a work of the U.S. Government. 1 Term of joint works is measured by life of the longest-lived author. 2 Works for hire, anonymous and pseudonymous works also have this term. 17 U.S.C. § 302(c). 3 Under the 1909 Act, works published without notice went into the public domain upon publication. Works published without notice between 1-1-78 and 3-1-89, effective date of the Berne Convention Implementation Act, retained copyright only if efforts to correct the accidental omission of notice was made within five years, such as by placing notice on unsold copies. 17 U.S.C. § 405.
Related: To be categorized