What does it mean when a work is in the public domain?
According to United States Copyright Law, a work is protected by copyright for a certain amount of time before it falls into the Public Domain and can be used freely, that is, without permission from its creator.
It can be tricky to tell when a work becomes public domain, as the time period depends on the type of work. Click on the link below to see a chart created by Peter B. Hirtle at the Cornell Copyright Information Center. There is also a Copyright LibGuide available from the JCC Libraries (link below).