Copyright status of work by the U.S. government

aspect of United States copyright law

Anything that is written as "a work prepared by an officer or employee" of the United States federal government "as part of that person's official duties,"[1] is permitted to be used without a penalty and is in the public domain. More details of this rule, as defined by the United States copyright law of the United States copyright law, is available.[2] Such writings are not protected under U.S. law. This rule may not be true in other countries.[3][4]


  1. 17 U.S.C. § 101 "A 'work of the United States Government' is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties."
  2. 17 U.S.C. § 105
  3. "Does the Government have copyright protection in U.S. Government works in other countries?". Archived from the original on 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2018-08-12.
  4. House Report No. 94-1476, p.59 ("The prohibition on copyright protection for United States Government works is not intended to have any effect on protection of these works abroad. Works of the governments of most other countries are copyrighted. There are no valid policy reasons for denying such protection to United States Government works in foreign countries, or for precluding the Government from making licenses for the use of its works abroad.").