Chicago Style Workout 48: Copyright

United States Copyright Act of 1790, detail of original document

Copy That

From public domain and “all rights reserved” to fair use and permissions, many of the basic principles of copyright will be familiar to those of us who work with words. But anyone can use a refresher. This quiz will test your knowledge of these and some of the other concepts covered in chapter 4 of CMOS.

Copyright, as that word suggests, gives the owner of a book or other creative work the legal right to make and distribute copies of that work as well as the right to distribute those copies to the public—for sale or otherwise. So it’s an important concept for authors and publishers alike.

But copyright can be complicated, so feel free to keep the Manual open on your desk or screen as you take this quiz, or you could review chapter 4 ahead of time. Or dive right in without a safety net. The answers—which you’ll see after you hit Submit—will fill you in on the facts.

Subscribers to The Chicago Manual of Style Online may click through to the linked sections of the Manual (cited in the answers). (For a 30-day free trial of CMOS Online, click here.)

Note: Style guides and dictionaries sometimes disagree. This quiz is designed to test your knowledge of The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition. Please also note that the answers in this quiz—like the advice in chapter 4 of the Manual—should not be considered as a substitute for legal advice. This quiz focuses on US copyright law; the law in other countries may differ.

Chicago Style Workout 48: Copyright

1. For works published today, the relevant copyright protections in the United States stem from a law enacted in
2. Because computer memory can be unstable, an email message is not considered copyrightable until it is printed out.
3. A new book cannot legally be given the same title as another book unless the other book is so old that it is no longer protected by copyright.
4. A work created by an employee of the US government as part of that employee’s job is in the public domain, meaning that it is public property and can be reproduced freely.
5. Works published in the United States before 1978 but after 1923 are protected for ninety-five years from the year of first publication, provided that certain requirements have been met.
6. The text of the 1925 publication of The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, entered the public domain on January 1, 2020.
7. A book published without a copyright notice on the title page or on the page immediately following the title page automatically forfeits copyright protection.
8. To be enforceable, a copyright notice must be followed by the statement “All rights reserved.”
9. Authors who self-publish a book through Amazon or a similar platform forfeit the right to publish the same book with a traditional publisher at a later date.
10. Under the doctrine of fair use, an author is allowed to quote up to 500 words of a book-length work or five stanzas of a poem without seeking permission from the copyright holder.


Top image: Detail from the first page of the original US Copyright Act of 1790, “An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books to the Authors and Proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned.” From

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