Print Materials

Do Not Copy to Avoid Purchasing

-What items should not be included in a course pack? (Answer: Anything that is used in order to avoid purchasing the actual copy--entire textbooks, consumables, other copyrighted resources, anything not created by the teacher).

-If there are not enough textbooks to go around, may teachers make copies of pages and send them home with the students? Would it be more legal if teachers sent students to the library to copy the pages themselves? (Answer: No to both questions. This doesn't meet all four fair-use assessments, and asking students to do the copying is considered "top down" copying (asking someone else to do the copying), and that is also prohibited.)

-If a student loses his workbook, can the teacher copy pages for him?
(Answer: No. The only time you can make copies of consumables is if an unused replacement copy is no longer available at a "reasonable cost." The student or the district will need to buy a replacement. However, once the order is sent off for the replacement copy, the teacher can make copies on an as-needed basis until the replacement arrives.)

#Public Domain

Public Domain Tool - Interactive tool helps user to determine if an item is in the Public Domain.

Created 1-1-78 or after When work is fixed in tangible medium of expression Life + 70 years¹ or if work of corporate authorship, the shorter of 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation²
Published before 1923 In public domain None
Published from 1923 - 63 When published with notice³ 28 years for first term + could be renewed for 67 years. If not so renewed, now in public domain
Published from 1964 - 77 When published with notice³ 28 years for first term; now automatic extension of 67 years for second term
Created before 1-1-78 but not published 1-1-78, the effective date of the 1976 Act which eliminated common law copyright Life + 70 years or 12-31-2002, whichever is greater
Created before 1-1-78 but published between then and 12-31-2002 1-1-78, the effective date of the 1976 Act which eliminated common law copyright Life + 70 years or 12-31-2047 whichever is greater

1 Term of joint works is measured by life of the longest-lived author.

2 Works for hire, anonymous and pseudonymous works also have this term. 17 U.S.C. § 302 (c).

3 Under the 1909 Act, works published without notice went into the public domain upon publication. Works published without notice between 1-1-78 and 3-1-89, effective date of the Berne Convention Implementation Act, retained copyright only if efforts to correct the accidental omission of notice was made within five years, such as by placing notice on unsold copies. 17 U.S.C. § 405. (Notes courtesy of professor Tom Field, Franklin Pierce Law Center and Lolly Gasaway)

[For updates on this chart visit the original at]

Last Updated: August 8, 2010