Federal, State and Local Government Websites Copyright Question

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  • Is the content contained on federal, state and local government websites considered to be in the public domain? Am I able to legally copy and reproduce images, maps and texts from these websites without permission if I'm a citizen of the United States?

    I appreciate you taking the time to read and answer my questions, thank you!
  • Anything "prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person's official duties" cannot be protected by copyright, "but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise."

    So, if the content was actually produced by the government, you can use it. However, a government web site may contain work that isn't actually a government work.

    I think that you are probably safe as long as no copyright symbol or other notice alerts you otherwise.

    I don't think that citizenship is a factor.
  • Thank you. I appreciate your insight.
  • Note that AFry's reply refers to Federal works, not state and local. Those laws can differ.
  • For state and local, would laws depend on each state and locality? Would there be no constant?
  • Laws, codes, and regulations are generally in the public domain, but beyond that it's probably going to depend on state law. There isn't a constant.
  • The majority of content that is of interest would be Pennsylvania state, and to a lesser extent local. I'll have to research this further. Thank you for the update and the information.

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