This guide is intended for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice or guidance. If you have specific legal questions, please contact EMU's Legal Affairs Office.


Works that are not protected by copyright are said to be in the public domain.

No permission is needed to copy, modify, translate, distribute, publicly perform, or publicly display these works.

What works are in the public domain?

  • Works published prior to 1927 (copyright has expired)
  • Many works published between 1927 and 1977, depending on whether they were published with a copyright notice
  • Works deliberately placed in the public domain by the copyright holder
  • Works that are not covered by copyright, such as federal government documents

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