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Smatterings A Writers Home Page

Copyright Issues

Public Domain


This page addresses legal things you need know if you are selecting your script from a private source other than a publishing company or are putting together some sort of variety show.

Using someone else's work

What is Public Domain

Works in the public domain are not protected by copyright and may be used freely, without seeking permission. Here are some sites that outlines an understanding of what constitutes being public domain.

When Work Passes Into The Public Domain

A useful chart to help determine if the work is public domain in the US.

If you are still unsure:

The site below will help you further in determining if a script qualifies as public domain.

How To Investigate Copyright Status

Fresh from the Library of Congress.

Public Domain On-line Libraries

Digital Book Index

Provides links to more than 165,000 full-text digital books from more than 1800 commercial and non-commercial publishers, universities, and various private sites. More than 140,000 of these books, texts, and documents are available free.

Google Books

If the book is out of copyright, or the publisher has given us permission, you'll be able to see a preview of the book.

Internet Archive

Non-profit founded to build an Internet library. Offers permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format.

Million Book Project

Over 10,500 books- browse by author, title, collection, and subject/keyword.

Online Book Page

Lists more than 25,000 online books, definitive collections, and serials.

Project Gutenberg

Grandparent of free public domain directories. Index of over 10,000 free electronic texts.

Disclaimer: This copyright information does not constitute legal advice. Specific questions about how copyright law applies to individual instructional or research use of copyrighted material should be referred to a lawyer.

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