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How to Understand Copyright: Public Domain

About Public Domain

What is public domain?

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 statutory formalities to perfect the copyright

(3) the work is a work of the U.S. Government