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JEWLScholar, Institutional Repository: Copyright and Fair Use Resources

JEWLScholar is the institutional repository of Middle Tennessee State University.

Copyright Basics

For a quick reference to copyright basics, refer to the US Copyright Office’s Copyright Basics document.

For a deeper understanding, check out the links below.

What is Public Domain?

The public domain is made up of of works that are ineligible for copyright protection or have expired copyrights. No permissions are needed to copy or use public domain works.

  • Some works, such as government documents, statistical techniques and judicial opinions are simply not eligible for copyright and so are always within the public domain.
  • Works published in the United States prior to 1923 are in the public domain.
  • Works published between 1923 and March 1989 are usually under copyright , but registrations and renewals were required.  This means that some of these works may have entered the public domain.
  • All works created (published and unpublished) in the United States after 1989 are under copyright and require permissions for use unless a specific non-assertion of copyright was made. 

For a helpful resource on which materials are under copyright and which are in the public domain please consult Cornell University's Copyright Term and the Public Domain webpage.


This web site presents information about copyright law. Walker Library makes every effort to assure the accuracy of this information but does not offer it as counsel or legal advice. Consult an attorney for advice concerning your specific situation.