Addressing Copyright

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Public Domain or Not?

  1. Determine whether the following works are under copyright or in the public domain, and justify your determination:
    1. This image of Obama and the son of one of his staffers taken by Pete Souza, official White House photographer, in 2009
    2. This image of Ronald Reagan challenging Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” taken by an Associated Press Photographer in 1987
    3. This seminal article on public administration, written by Woodrow Wilson in 1887, 26 years before assuming the presidency
    4. This image of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, taken in 2018 by photographer Adam Scotti of the Prime Minister’s Office
  • show solution
      1. Yes (was produced by an employee of the US government in the exercise of their duty)
      2. No (was not produced by an employee of the US government)
      3. Yes (published before 1923)
      4. No (work by Canadian government employees is protected by copyright for 50 years under “Crown copyright.” We did not necessarily expect you to delve into Canadian law here, but hope the provenance of the image made you realize that that is the source that you’d have to check to answer the question, and brought home the point that you should assume a work is under copyright unless you know otherwise.)