1. Is the work protected?
Copyright does not protect and anyone may freely use:
- Works that lack originality
- logical, comprehensive compilations (like the phone book)
- unoriginal reprints of public domain works
- Works in the public domain
- Freeware (not shareware, but really, expressly, available free of restrictions-ware -- this may be protected by law, but the author has chosen to make it available without any restrictions)
- US Government works
- Ideas, processes, methods, and systems described in copyrighted works
The presence or absence of a copyright notice no longer carries the significance it once did because the law no longer requires a notice. Older works published without a notice may be in the public domain, but for works created after March 1, 1989, absence of a copyright mark does not mean that a work isn't protected by copyright.