Answered By: Woodruff Library Reference Last Updated: Feb 19, 2015 Views: 50
The Public Domain
The public domain refers to material not protected by copyright. Anyone can use material in the public domain without permission.
Some material, such as that created by an employee of the U.S. federal government, in their official capacity, automatically enters the public domain upon creation. However, most material enters the public domain due to the expiration of the copyright term.
Generally, any material published in the United States prior to 1923 or published in a foreign country prior to 1909 is in the public domain and can be used without permission.