document before 1964, copyright not renewed

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Documents published in the United States before January 1st, 1964 with a copyright, but whose copyright was not renewed, are in the public domain in that nation.[1]

They should also be in the public domain in the European Union, where the "shorter term" rule applies to foreign works and where foreign documents which are already in the public domain in their home country are not further protected.[2]

Copyright registration for these documents had to be renewed during the 28th year of their first term of copyright in order to maintain copyright for a full 95-year term. It is extremely unlikely that this was done for catalogues or documentations published by commercial companies during the period, and therefore these can now be considered to be in the public domain.