Pickler Memorial Library



Copyright Policies

Warning Concerning Copyright Restrictions

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or reproduction that is not to be "used for any other purpose other than private study, scholarship or research". If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use" that use may be liable for copyright infringement.

The following chart is provided as a quick reference for unpublished (manuscript) works and works published in the United States. It was originally published in Hirtle, Peter B. "Recent Changes To the Copyright Law: Copyright Term Extension," Archival Outlook (January/February 1999): 1-4, and is updated annually. The complete version includes works published outside the US, some special cases and more extensive explanations and may be found at https://guides.library.cornell.edu/copyright/publicdomain.

These two charts are based in part on Laura N. Gasaway's chart, "When Works Pass Into the Public Domain," at https://web.archive.org/web/20181108140230/http:/www.unc.edu/~unclng/public-d.htm and similar charts found in Marie C. Malaro, A Legal Primer On Managing Museum Collections (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2012): 170.
  1. These works may still be copyrighted, but certification from the Copyright Office that it has no record to indicate whether author is living or died less than 70 years before is a complete defense to any action for infringement.
  2. Presumption as to author's death requires a certified report from the Copyright Office that its records disclose nothing to indicate that the author of the work is living or died less than 70 years before.
  3. A 1961 Copyright Office study found that fewer than 15% of all registered copyrights were renewed. For textual material (including books), the figure was even lower: 7%. See current version of this chart for good sources to determine if copyright has been renewed.
  4. Contractors and grantees are not considered government empoyees. Generaly they create works with copyright (though the government may own that copyright). See CENDI Frequently Asked Questions About Copyright: Issues Affecting the U.S. Government. The public domain status of U.S. government works applies only in the U.S.