Copyright Resources


Copyright, public domain, fair use

Library Digitization Project and Copyright - Law and Technology resources for legal professionals. By Mary Minow, Published on June 28, 2002.  
This is a very readable overview of what librarians need to know about copyright, including a discussion of what qualifies as Public Domain (with examples), copyright terms in published and unpublished works, and includes sections on Section 108 of Copyright Law (Library Exception), Fair Use, and permissions.

When U.S. works pass into the public domain (basic chart)

Copyright term & the public domain in the United States (detailed chart)

Fair Use checklist

Determining Orphan Works vs. Public Domain Status for Print Works Published in the U.S. from 1923 through 1977, by David Lowe. (Flowchart to help you determine if your item is in the public domain)

Digitizing Orphan Works: Legal strategies to reduce risks… (report from Orphan Works Project)

See the Library of Congress legal statements regarding copyright, privacy and publicity rights:

*Orphan works: Works which are copyright protected, but for which the copyright owner cannot be determined or located, are considered ‘orphan works’.  If needed, use this term to investigate issues surrounding their publication.

Well-intentioned practice for putting digitized collections of unpublished materials online

Section 108: Reproductions by Libraries and Archives for their Users, for Replacement or for Preservation, by Michael Brewer and ALA Office from Information Technology Policy, 2012  
Helps libraries and archives assess whether or not they can make reproductions of copyrighted materials without permissions in certain circumstances.

Section 108 Study Group


Researching copyright status

How to Investigate Copyright Status, Circular 22, U.S. Copyright Office:  (includes an overview of copyright issues)

Search copyright registration & renewals:


Copyright permission information (includes sample form)


Rights statements (Samples of statements for different situations)

See also the rights statements used in digital repositories such as HathiTrust.