Copyright law can be difficult and confusing. This webpage is meant to provide you with guidance, but not legal advice.
Should you have further questions, please do not hesitate to ask Sara Benson, the Copyright Librarian, for assistance. Sara can be reached at 217-333-4200 or firstname.lastname@example.org
United States (Government) Produced Materials
The Copyright Act provides that federal governmental materials are not protected by copyright laws. In other words, such works, by definition, are part of the public domain.
Specifically, Section 105 of the Act provides: "Copyright protection . . . is not available for any work of the United States Government . . .."
While this seems fairly simple, it can be a bit more difficult to apply in practice. For instance, a work of a contractor of the US Government is not a "work of the US Government," so it would be protected by copyright. Additionally, even if copyright laws do not operate to protect a US Governmental work, other protections (such as trademark and the like) may apply.
The copyright of materials produced by State Governments varies by state law. In other words, there is no simple provision in the Copyright Act (as there is for Federal Governmental materials) dealing with state government materials.
There is, however, a resource telling users just how "protected" by copyright law each state's materials may be: