Answered By: Lauren Collister
Last Updated: May 11, 2016     Views: 19

First, a quick clarification: Items that are published recently are almost never in the public domain unless the author and/or publisher have specifically designated them as such (this would be evident in the opening pages of the book where the copyright information is found), and it is not safe to assume public domain status for any items published after 1923. For some help on figuring out whether something is in the public domain or not, see the Copyright Toolkit's section on Public Domain: (Particularly helpful is the Digital Copyright Slider: )

Because the instrument was published in a book or in a journal article, the publisher may have asserted copyright over the instrument. When this is the case, the copyright holder can stipulate standards for the use of their research materials. Sometimes, the owner simply wants to ensure that the most current version is being used, but other times they may charge a small fee for use. In some rare cases, there may be strict restrictions on how the measure can be used. It is definitely necessary to contact the copyright holder for more information about permissions for using these items. If you need any help with this process, please Ask a Librarian or contact your subject specialist

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