What is Public Domain?
The Public Domain:
A work is in the public domain if it is no longer under copyright protection. A work in the public domain
may be ineligible for protection, its protection may have expired, or it may have been placed in the
public domain by its creator. Works in the public domain may be freely used without permission of the
former copyright holder.
Any statement on the public domain status of a work is made by Yale in good faith.
Taking into account the nature of their collections, stewards carefully consider a number of different
factors when assessing the public domain status of collection works, including but not limited to the
circumstances of a work’s origin, such as its place and date of creation and/or publication.
Commonly cited guidelines used to make good faith determinations of public domain status include the
date of creation (often prior to 1923) or the date of death of the creator (life + 70 years.) Here are a
few recognized resources on determining public domain: