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Government Documents

Documents authored by the U.S. government are not copyrightable. Section 105 of the copyright law states "copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise."

This means that most federal government documents are in the public domain and may be freely quoted, reused, downloaded, and copied. However, most foreign government documents, documents produced by states and most intergovernmental agencies (i.e., UN, IMF), or works created under contract with the U.S government, are not in the public domain.


Content in this page was used or adapted with permission from one or more institutions. Please see acknowledgements.

Information in this page was reviewed and approved by legal counsel. Please see disclaimer. Review date: January 2007.

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