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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Standards and Resources: Copyright

Find here both general and UIUC-specific information related to conducting research, including process, ethics, academic integrity, intellectual property, copyright, citation format and management, and plagiarism.



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This chart was first published in Peter B. Hirtle, "Recent Changes To The Copyright Law: Copyright Term Extension," Archival Outlook, January/February 1999. This version is current as of 3 January 2022. The most recent version is found at the Cornell University Library's Copyright Services page "Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States." For some explanation on how to use the chart and complications hidden in it, see Peter B. Hirtle, "When is 1923 Going to Arrive and Other Complications of the U.S. Public Domain," Searcher (Sept 2012). The chart is based in part on Laura N. Gasaway's chart, "When Works Pass Into the Public Domain." A similar chart is found in Marie C. Malaro, A Legal Primer On Managing Museum Collections, 3rd ed. (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2012): 170. Mary Minow has a useful copyright duration chart organized by year. A "flow chart" for copyright duration and a “tree-view” chart on copyright are also available. Several U.S. copyright duration calculators are available online, including the Public Domain Sherpa and the Durationator (in beta). See also Library of Congress Copyright Office. Circular 15a, Duration of Copyright: Provisions of the Law Dealing with the Length of Copyright Protection. Further information on copyright duration is found in Chapter 3, "Duration and Ownership of Copyright," in Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for Digitization for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, by Peter B. Hirtle, Emily Hudson, and Andrew T. Kenyon (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Library, 2009) available as a free download from Cornell eCommons. Additional guidance on the public domain may be found in Melissa Levine, Richard C. Adler,and Justin Bonfiglio. Finding the Public Domain: Copyright Review Management System Toolkit (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Michigan Publishing, 13 June 2016) and Menesha A. Mannapperuma, Brianna L. Schofield, and Andrea K. Yankovsky, et. al. Is it in the Public Domain? (Berkeley, CA: Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, 27 May 2014).

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