Best way to verify public domain?

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Post by ThadeusOfNazereth » January 4th, 2021, 9:20 pm

Howdy y'all - This is probably a bit of a dumb question, but I wanted some clarification on what constitutes public domain for Librivox. Everything here I've seen has specifically said "works published prior to 1926" or some equivalent, but I'm wondering if works released under certain Creative Commons licenses, works that were never copyrighted, or works that authors have made freely available count as well. A lot of what I'm interested in working on here can be found places like or The Anarchist Library, and many of those works are contemporary but have been made freely available. Any clarification on this would be appreciated.

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Post by TriciaG » January 5th, 2021, 6:23 am


Our two general criteria, with a very few exceptions, are (1) traditionally published, and (2) clearly public domain (i.e. NO copyright or restrictions).

Generally, contemporary works don't fit our policies. For more info, see here:

To answer the question in your thread title, the best way to verify public domain is if the work is on and its status is "PD in the USA", it's on as Full View, or it's a scan of the original work and clearly shows a print or copyright date of over 95 years ago (1925 or earlier, for 2021). :)
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