VII. How do I figure out if something is copyright protected or public domain?
You can start by looking at the date. Anything made before 1923, no matter what, will be definitely in the public domain. After that you can check out this chart because determining whether something is in the public domain by the date gets a lot harder than that. Most times, it's impossible to determine whether something is in the public domain just by the date.
There are three ways you can find out definitively whether a work is in the public domain. We suggest one of the following search methods, from least expensive to most expensive:
If you live in or near Washington DC or plan to visit DC, then we suggest you head over to the Copyright Office yourself – it is open to the public and anyone can do a search for free during normal business hours.
Consider hiring a private search company. They are cheaper than the option below and provide the same results. We have seen rates as low as $75 per hour.
Finally, consider contacting the Copyright Office and having them do the research for you. Although this can be expensive (about $165 per hour with a two hour minimum), you may rest assure that their answer will be the correct one and you will be able to rely on their answer for your project.
In our new book, we focus on issues you may encounter from the inception of your business to the moment (that hopefully doesn’t happen) you get a nasty lawyer letter for the first time.
You’ll learn how to form your business, protect your intellectual property, and avoid problems when launching your project. Taking a few simple steps upfront to protect your business or project can save time and money down the road. Don't Panic has also been used in undergraduate & graduate classes nationwide to teach business and legal concepts to non-lawyers. Professors can request a FREE evaluation copy
FINALLY, CLEAR ANSWERS FOR LEGAL AND BUSINESS QUESTIONS WRITTEN BY LAWYERS AND DESIGNED FOR CREATIVES
After 10 years of advising creators and entrepreneurs, we’ve kept hearing about the same unsolved issue from our clients...
Creatives want to learn the legal and business rules they need to grow and protect their businesses. BUT they don’t have the resources to purchase 10 different books, read 100 different conflicting blog posts written by non-lawyers, and then spend $1,000 hiring an expensive lawyer to summarize them all before they’re understandable and usable.
That’s why we‘ve created our Resource Library. These checklists, best practice guides, and videos are made specifically for creative entrepreneurs who want the right strategies -- laid out in the right order -- to legally protect and thoughtfully grow their businesses.
We realized there needs to be an affordable and accurate place to find best practice guides written by lawyers but designed to be implemented by creators.
We are supporting the Library with ongoing updates -- which means you get new, actionable content for as long as you remain a member.
You can directly suggest new additions for the topics we’ll add. YOU as members, dictate what is added to the library based on what YOU need the most.
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