Copyright protection does not last forever. When protection expires, the work enters the public domain. The laws governing how long copyright lasts have been revised several times; therefore, determining copyright status can be difficult. The following table summarizes copyright duration.
Table 1. When Works Pass into the Public Domain
Includes material from the new Term Extension Act, PL 105-298Review the table Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States for detailed information regarding the duration of copyright protection and when materials enter the public domain.