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Copyright & Fair Use

Applying the Rules

What is a U.S. Government Work?

Government works (aka Government documents or Government publications) provide insight into many social, economic, and political issues, from cultural mores to scientific endeavours. Not all government information is published and made available to the public.

A United States government work is prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties.

Government works  include print and electronic materials produced by federal and state governments in the form of legislative debates and reports, census data, agency or departmental papers, brochures, maps and posters for tourists and a range of other types of content.  

Using Government Works

Government works are NOT subject to copyright in the United States of America.

  • There are NO copyright restrictions on reproduction, derivative works, distribution, performance, or display of the work. 
  • Anyone may, without restriction under U.S. copyright laws:
    • Reproduce the work in print or digital form.
    • Create derivative works.
    • Perform the work publicly.
    • Display the work.
    • Distribute copies or digitally transfer the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership or by rental, lease, or lending.

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