International Law and Public Domain Works

When it comes to determining whether a work is in the public domain or not, you need to pay attention to the country that the original copyright, if any, was acquired in. Each country has different copyright laws that determine when a work becomes public domain material. International law is just what it says – International. In other words, the copyright laws of Japan apply to people in other countries who want to use work that was copyrighted in Japan. If the work is still covered by Japan copyright law, but would no longer be covered under United States copyright laws, the work is not in the public domain – in any country.

You must adhere to the copyright laws of the country where the work was copyrighted in the first place. This is true for all works copyrighted in all countries, no matter what country you may reside or use the work in.

The copyright laws are not the same in every country. It is important that you find out what the copyright laws are before you assume that a work is in the public domain, for the country where that work was copyrighted. Too often, people assume that copyright laws are the same internationally, and this is just not true.

If you do not take the time to determine that a work is indeed in the public domain, you may be infringing on someone else’s copyright. This can lead to large fines, lawsuits, and possibly imprisonment in some countries. If nothing else, it will most certainly damage your reputation!

Do not assume that nothing can happen to you legally if you use work that is copyrighted in a country that you do not reside in. People in other countries can instigate lawsuits in the country where you reside just as easily as they can sue in their own country.

Hi, My name is Mark Flavin. I am the creator of the free traffic ezine –
My product Unorthodox Traffic has sold 1000’s of copies and helps people from all around the world drive thousands of targeted visitors to their websites for free. You can also check out my blog at