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Key Concepts: Public Domain

Some works aren't covered by copyright

Works that do not have copyright protection are in the “public domain”. These works can be used at will without seeking prior permission of the copyright owner, even if your use isn't Fair Use. Several factors determine whether a work is in the “public domain”.

Never assume that a work is in the “public domain”. Make sure you check carefully to determine whether or not it is before using it.

Here is a digital tool (provided by the American Library Association) that will help you determine if the work you are using is in the “public domain”:

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August 15, 2011