Public Domain Articles

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Public Domain Articles

Most authors prefer to copyright their work to protect and gain benefits from it, but there are also some who don’t mind sharing their work. Public domain articles are not held by anybody and can be applied or used by anyone. The authors have waived their rights to their works and posted it for the public to use.

You can use public domain articles to help help compose new articles or as educational resources without incurring the need for payment. Materials in the public domain may be applied in different academic ways. They may also be edited or revised for satirical or other uses; however, they may not be misattributed. Writers cannot take others' work wholesale as their own; they also cannot edit a work substantively and then swipe copyright. Whole ideas may be used and you may reprint or distribute the articles as desired. The ethical uses usually involve crediting the original authors for any quoted sections.

Where Public Domain Articles May be Found

Public Domain writing may be found in libraries, in online repositories, and on the WWW, and in other locations. These have to be clearly cited as in the public domain, oftentimes. For example, many public US government sites have clauses releasing their contents to the public domain for wider use--such as for issues of healthcare or laws or policies.

How Formerly Copyrighted Works Enter the Public Domain

Materials on copyrighted works eventually enter the public domain. Works that were published in the US before 1923 are in the public domain. Materials produced by the federal government are generally in the public domain (check with their copyright policies on the various sites). States have different laws relating to the copyright laws that apply to contents of state government sites, so people should read the fine print and consult the proper authorities to find out. Also, contractor work done on behalf of federal or state government may be separately copyrighted, so potential users are asked to tread with care.

Facts, ideas, and raw data are in the public domain. Materials released by the copyright holders are in the public domain.

Said another way, copyright protections for works were set at 28 years in 1909. That could be extended once for an additional 28 years for a total of 56 years.

Since 1978, copyright ran for a personal author for his or her lifespan plus fifty (50) years.

With the 1998 amendment to US copyright laws, copyright now extends for the author's life plus seventy (70) years.

Works with a corporate author (or an unknown one) have copyright protections ("limited monopoly" protections) for 95 years from the year of publication or 120 years from the creation of the work, whichever is shorter.

A work in the public domain is outside the protection of copyright.

Professional Courtesy and Responsibility

In academia, out of professional courtesy and responsibility, people do cite sources even if they are in the public domain.

Saving Money

One good factor in using public domain articles for teaching is that you save money you may need to pay for use of published material. Open-source contents that have been released through Creative Commons releases may offer good alternatives to public domain works, which may often be older or written from particular points of view.

Public domain articles are a virtual untapped resource that many people have failed to use.

Number of Articles

The number of public domain articles and content have increased significantly as the Internet has expanded.

References