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Copyright Toolkit - Public Domain

Some materials are in the public domain, which means the intellectual property is not owned or controlled by any person or entity. Materials in the public domain can be used freely, although they may need to be properly cited. Determining what is in the public domain can be difficult, but these sites can help.

This toolkit was not prepared by an attorney and is not intended to substitute for legal advice.

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Chart maintained at Cornell University, listing copyright terms of various types of published and unpublished works, with dates those works fall into the public domain.

This sliding copyright tool, developed by Michael Brewer in cooperation with the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy, helps determine if a work first published in the United States has fallen into the public domain.