skip navigation

Frequently Asked Questions

Question:

The work I want to copy and use is really old. Hasn't the copyright expired?

Answer:

Maybe. In the U.S., the general rule of copyright duration for a work created on or after January 1, 1978 is the author's life plus 70 years after the author's death. This is often referred to as "life-plus-70". Works created by companies or other types of organizations generally have a copyright term of 95 years from publication. If you are copying from an original work published before 1923, it is in the public domain and you are free to copy it without permission. Anything published or republished after 1923 should be researched to determine if it is the public domain.
Portland State University | 503.725.5874 | Maps & Directions | Contact Us | Accessibility | Support the Library | Sitemap |