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A quick guide to Augustana's copyright policy.

Public Domain

What does public domain mean?

Works that are in the public domain are not protected by copyright and may be freely used.

What kinds of works are in the public domain?

Here are two prominent examples of works in the public domain:

  • Works created by the United States government. Nearly all works created by the United States government or government employees are considered to be in the public domain.
  • Books published before 1927. In the United States, books published before 1927 are now in the public domain. This is what allows you to view the full text of many books in places like Google Books or Hathi Trust.

Creators can also choose to place their work in the public domain if they wish. For example, the Creative Commons organization allows authors to signal using the CC0 tool that they have waived their copyright interests in a given work.

What else do I need to know?

For more information about the public domain, see section III a. of the Augustana College Copyright Policy (linked above).