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Figuring out the Public Domain

(by Peter Hirtle)

September cover of Searcher MagazineThe chart on copyright duration is consistently one of the most-popular web pages on the Copyright Information Center’s web site.  In many cases, the chart can help people determine if a work is in the public domain in the US.  But there are lots of potential minefields in the public domain.  I describe some of them in a new article just published by Searcher: The Magazine for Database Professionals. In “When Is 1923 Going to Arrive and Other Complications of the U.S. Public Domain,” I provide a number of examples of problems associated with determining public domain status.

The article is available for free now from the Searcher Magazine web site; in three months, I will add it to eCommons.


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