Training modules/dashboard/slides/11107-what's-on-public-domain

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What's public domain?[edit]

You can also share works you find that are in the public domain.

A work in the public domain is not covered by anyone's copyright. Usually, these are works created and shared with no restrictions, for example, by some government agencies, or they are works where the time limits on copyrights has expired (in the USA, works published before 1923 are in the public domain).

How and when works enter public domain varies by country. For a reference guide, visit Help:Public domain, or enter that term into the search bar of Wikimedia Commons.

A few tips on the public domain:

  • Just because you don't see a copyright notice doesn't mean it isn't under copyright.
  • Just because something is older than the internet doesn't mean it isn't under copyright.
  • Copyright is transferrable, so even if the author has died, the work may still be under copyright.
  • If the work is freely available, that doesn't mean it's free to use.
  • Publicity shots, for example, of celebrities, are usually not public domain.