Copyright Copyrighted works in all forms including audiobooks are property of their owners; you can buy them from retailers or borrow them from a library. It is illegal to reproduce, sell or distribute them. You can buy them on CDs, MP3 CDs, and by digital download. You can usually borrow audiobooks on CD from your library, and if your library participates, download them from NetLibrary. Copyright is temporary, and expires after a set time limit. This time limit is different from country to country. For most of the world this time limit is 50-70 years after the death of the author. Most but not all countries are parties to international copyright treaties such as Berne convention that protect the authors rights automatically, without author having to apply for or register copyright.
In the US for works published after 1978 are protected for 70 years after authors death, or in case of anonymous or pseudonymous works for 95 year from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever comes sooner. In US all works published before 1923 have expired copyrights. Works published before 1978 but after 1923 are protected for 95 years from publication or original copyright registration.
Public Domain After copyright expires, or if a work was never under copyright protection, such as works created before existence of copyright laws, it is considered to be in the Public Domain. First copyright laws were passed in seventeenth century in England, international treaties took hold only in twentieth, Berne convention first being brought forth in 1886. If a work is in the Public Domain there is no restrictions on its use. Because copyright laws differ from country to country, a work might be in the Public Domain and available for use free from all restrictions in one country, but still under copyright protection in another.
Creative Commons Creative Commons is a way for authors to release some or all rights to their work to the public. There are different types of Creative Commons licenses available for an author to choose from. Some common examples include works with no restrictions, available to anybody for commercial or non commercial use adaptation or alteration; works restricted for non commercial use; works that can be used freely but can not be altered or adopted without permission.
Free Stuff There are a growing number of Public Domain and Creative Commons works available for free download in audio book form from numerous sites. Some copyrighted and professionally produced works are available for free (DRM protected) download from NetLibrary. For more information on where to get free audiobooks visit our free audiobook directory.

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