Fair Use versus Public Domain

The concept of fair use should not be confused with the concept of public domain. When a work is in the public domain it has no copyright protection. Therefore, the public–rather than a particular individual or entity–owns the work. A work might be in the public domain for one of four reasons:

  1. The term of copyright protection has expired.
  2. The owner failed to fulfill a requirement and lost copyright protection.
  3. The work was created by the US Government.
  4. The owner dedicated the work to the public domain.

As a rule of thumb, registered works created before 1923 are now in the public domain.

Legal Matters That Matter to Writers by Professor Tonya M. Evans. Contact Professor Evans at Legal Write Publications, info@legalwritepublications.com or www.legalwritepublications.com; The information contained in this column is for general informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you need advice regarding a specific legal matter, consult a lawyer as each case is fact-specific.

Note: from Book Marketing Matters™ Volume 13, Issue 3, Number 294 February 3, 2014

Brian Jud’s free, bi-weekly ezine dedicated to helping you get your fair share of sales in special-sales (non-bookstore) markets, and sell more books profitably. To subscribe to Book Marketing Matters or for copies of all the previous issues visit http://www.bookmarketingworks.com/mktgmattersnews/


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