The Public Domain: How Long Does Copyright Last?

In general:

  • Life of the author plus 70 years.
  • For corporate authors, 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation whichever is shorter.

You may question whether or not the material you want to use is still under copyright protection, or in the public domain.  Review these public domain charts or digital slide rule for published and unpublished copyright expiration dates. In general:

  • Pre-1923 publications—in the public domain
  • Pre-1978 publications without a copyright notice—in the public domain
  • Published between 1923 and 1963 with a copyright notice, but registration not renewed—in the public domain.

When looking for works in the public domain to add to your course syllabus or Blackboard, try the following:

The Library has a number of online full text ebooks, ejournals and digital videos that can be linked on syllabi or in Blackboard.  Visit the Library’s “Articles and More” webpage for a complete list of resources.

For more information on linking resources to courses, email Kim Fournier at