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How do you know if a work or an author's body of work is in the public domain?

  1. donnah75 profile image97
    donnah75posted 5 years ago

    How do you know if a work or an author's body of work is in the public domain?

    It is obvious that an author such as Shakespeare is in the public domain, but what about an author who was alive in more modern times, such as Pablo Neruda?  Is there a website that will allow a search and definitively tell me that a work or an author's body of work is in the public domain?

  2. ajwrites57 profile image86
    ajwrites57posted 5 years ago

    Good question donnah75!  Here is a website that lists places on the web you can access for public domain works. I haven't explore them all, but there is a lot of information there.

    http://www.publicdomainsherpa.com/find- … books.html

    1. Billie Kelpin profile image86
      Billie Kelpinposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      ajwrite... THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I looked at that site for a second and I can see it will help.  I have been looking for public domain works for our educational website! And THANK YOU "donnah" for asking the question.

  3. mattforte profile image91
    mattforteposted 5 years ago

    I am not an expert on this situation, BUT Lisa Koski is. This isn't a definitive answer, but we believe the general rule is - once an author has been dead for 70 years, it becomes public domain. However, don't use this as a golden rule, because they may have left the rights to family members, in which case this wouldn't be the case.

    To be safe, just always do your research before assuming something is P.D.

    And for the record - if they are alive - it is not public domain unless they have specifically released the rights to said work.

    1. Patty Inglish, MS profile image92
      Patty Inglish, MSposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      And one extreme case is Harlan Ellison(TM), who because of plagiarism and requests for free writing Trademarked his very name & arranged for copyright on his works to continue after his death thru attorney firms as well as family. He's angry.

  4. grand old lady profile image86
    grand old ladyposted 5 years ago

    I discovered The Hobbit on YouTube. The whole book was written, not the movie but it was nice listening to the story while I was crafting some stuff. I also found Jane Eyre. These are old books but The Hobbit might interest you since it's a movie now:)