Copyright and how it relates to your rights


Public domain




You don’t need a licence to use a public domain work. Public domain works –

works not protected by copyright – can be used by anyone. Because these

works are not protected by copyright, no one can claim the exclusive rights

if copyright for such works. For example, the plays of Shakespeare are in

the public domain. Works enter the public domain in several ways: the term

of the copyright may have expired, the copyright owner may have failed to

renew his copyright under the old Copyright Act of 1909, or the copyright

owner may have failed to properly use copyright notice (of importance only

to works created before March1, 1989, t which time copyright notice became




Ideas or facts




You don’t need a licence to copy facts from a protected work or to copy

ideas from a protected work. The copyright on a work does not extend to the

work’s facts. This is because copyright protection is limited to original

works of authorship and no one can claim originality or authorship for

facts. You are free to copy facts from a copyrighted work.