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30 votes
Accepted

Are the Quotations in a Book of Quotations Copyrighted?

The copyright on the book of quotations protects the collection. That is, it protects the author's choice of which quotations to include, and of what order to list them in. It also covers any ...
David Siegel's user avatar
22 votes
Accepted

What is the copyright status of a journal article written more than 70 years ago?

The article is public domain. The pictures aren’t If this was first published in the British Empire (as it then was), then The UK is the place of first publication. What follows is its status under UK ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 211k
22 votes
Accepted

"Public domain": Can I sell prints of the James Webb Space Telescope?

Yes. I am tempted to leave the above as the entirety of my answer, but to expand: Yes, you can do that. You won't (as a business matter) be able to charge all that much because many people will ...
Martin Bonner supports Monica's user avatar
21 votes
Accepted

Is the U.S. Code copyrighted by the Government?

US Laws are Free of Copyright Federal Works 17 USC 105 says: Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government ...
David Siegel's user avatar
21 votes
Accepted

Are works created by US government employees in the performance of their duties treated as public domain outside the US?

There are several official and unofficial sources that say that the public domain status of works of the US Federal Government only applies within the US. Specifically: "Government Works" on ...
David Siegel's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Authorship in work dedicated to the public domain

PD means you have no rights No as in not a single right. CC0/PD means they can do anything legally: they can take the work, make a trivial edit and put their name on it [at least in addition] and you ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 39.8k
14 votes

Who, if anyone, owns the copyright to mugshots in the United States?

The Mugshot was most likely made by a state employee in the course of their work. Employees don't get a copyright for works from their work but their employers do so generally, as that is work for ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 39.8k
14 votes
Accepted

Can patents be featured/explained in a youtube video i.e. are patent descriptions/images in public domain?

The government's position is that material in the patent documents is generally in the public domain See Public Domain Copyright Trademark & Patent Information Schedule: As part of the terms of ...
Jen's user avatar
  • 56.9k
13 votes

Are designs explained in academic publications considered to be in public domain if there isn't yet a patent application about it?

Designs in publications are prior art If a party publishes a design in any way to the public, no other party can patent it and the publishing party only has a narrow window to file for a patent if the ...
Trish's user avatar
  • 39.8k
11 votes
Accepted

How can NaxosofAmerica claim copyright for classical music in Youtube?

I know that classical music is public domain, so no-one can claim that they own classical music. That's not quite right, at least not under US law. First off, "classical music" is a style, and music ...
cpast's user avatar
  • 23.9k
11 votes

Copyright transcription of public domain music?

I originally wrote A "transcription" and an "arrangement" are not at all the same thing. But it seems that this was not quite correct. Transcription Merriam-Webste definers the ...
David Siegel's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Can I scan in pre-1923 photographs from books and upload them to wikipedia without violating copyright?

Date and Place of Publication Matter If the photographs were published in the US prior to 1923 (or indeed now prior to 1927) by a US resident, they are now in the public domain (PD) in the US under US ...
David Siegel's user avatar
9 votes

Can a library forbid me to make copies of un-copyrighted material?

More generally, the university gets to set whatever rules it wants, unless there is a law limiting what it can do. For example, in the US a government university (qua arm of government) cannot require ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
9 votes

Is the Scarborough Fair Melody Really in the Public Domain?

Yes Both melody and lyrics source back to the middle ages, as for instance described here. The difficulty could be to make sure you rely your derived work on a variant that is really in the public ...
PMF's user avatar
  • 5,778
8 votes

Are "slavish copies" of public domain work in the public domain?

Bridgeman Art is only binding in New York's Southern District, but the reasoning from its line of cases has been adopted by the Seventh Circuit and Tenth Circuit, and by district courts in California ...
bdb484's user avatar
  • 60.2k
8 votes
Accepted

Does public domain give me the right to take old work out of context, such as claimed in this SMBC comic?

Yes it does. You can do anything at all with a public domain work, and it is not an infringement of copyright. For the matter of that, one could write a forwards attributes to Justinian or Genghis ...
David Siegel's user avatar
8 votes

Are designs explained in academic publications considered to be in public domain if there isn't yet a patent application about it?

Is an academic journal publication considered a public display of information or isn't considered so depending on the publication being an open-access one or not? (Is there any difference whether the ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 218k
7 votes
Accepted

Can I release all my copyrighted works into the public domain upon my death?

Under US copyright law, all works are protected by copyright except for US Government works. The concept of "public domain" is not legally well-defined, and is used colloquially to refer to government ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
7 votes

Are "slavish copies" of public domain work in the public domain?

German perspective: In German law, there is the concept of Schöpfungshöhe (threshold of originality), which is required for authorship rights (Urheberrecht) to apply to a work. Basically, the idea ...
sleske's user avatar
  • 8,215
7 votes
Accepted

Licensing an idea to public?

You are correct that it is quite expensive to patent something in U.S. law. Under U.S. patent law, once an idea is publicly published, if no one else has a patent application for the same idea that ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 218k
7 votes

Does copyright apply to Stack Exchange answers and comments?

Stack Exchange questions are not public domain, they are protected by copyright. Authors have granted a license under Subscriber Content, specifically content is perpetually and irrevocably licensed ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 215k
7 votes

I bought a premium domain and now the registrar says that domain wasn't really available for purchase

No You agreed to this: If the change of ownership from Seller to Buyer is not able to be completed (i) due to either party’s fraudulent activity or (ii) for any other reason, Buyer and Seller ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 211k
6 votes
Accepted

Is it safe to use public domain images of Wikipedia for commercial purposes (like printing on a product)?

No, it is certainly not legally safe to sell a shirt with such an image printed on it. There are two compatible facts to consider: Wikipedia is correct that the image is not covered by copyright in ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 3,339
6 votes
Accepted

Is there any way in which a plain electronic copy of a public domain document is copyrightable?

Not in US law, at least. Under the 1999 decision Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp (36 F. Supp. 2d 191) such images are not protected by copyright. As the Wikipedia article says, the court here ...
David Siegel's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Could I write a new Frankenstein book since it's public domain?

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is indeed public domain so you are free to use that character. However, a lot of what we think of as "Frankenstein" is not Mary Shelly, for example, the iconic ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 211k
6 votes

If Van Gogh is in Public Domain, why there are restrictions in the Van Gogh museum?

There isn’t a legal restriction Which is to say they could show replica’s if they wanted to; they just don’t want to. This is fairly typical - art museums display art, not reproductions of art. They ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 211k
6 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to enter a work into public domain by transfering copyright to a dead person?

It doesn't work, just like transferring the copyright to a young person to make it last longer doesn't work. In places where the length of copyright depends on the death of someone, it always ...
gnasher729's user avatar
  • 34.1k
6 votes

What happens if you create something (e.g. a book/game/show) which includes copyrighted content, then release it into the public domain?

Copyrights, in general, relate to the right of copying or reproduction. Another’s copyright may be substantially violated and causing harm even if one doesn’t monetize on it: A free access to the work ...
kisspuska's user avatar
  • 3,924
6 votes
Accepted

Can we be sued for using a meme for naming our company?

A phrase which is too generic or in too wide currnt use to be a valid trademark, may nevertheless be used as a business name or slogan. For example "Good Pizza" is so generic that I am ...
David Siegel's user avatar
5 votes

Can a provider of content restrict use of the content when they have no intellectual property rights to it?

In a hypothetical case like you are describing, you could make a contract with them regarding the duplication of the content, irrespective of copyright law. Their violation of that contract would not ...
Tom's user avatar
  • 2,402

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