We seem to have questions arise fairly often about older works and copyright protection. I found this interesting discussion on another web site. Most of the works we seem to be concerned about in the U.S. seem to date prior to 1976. Here is a note about the 1909 revision to the U.S. Copyright Act. It seems that works copyrighted before 1976 were protected for 28 years with a possible renewal. After 1976 the protection is the life of the author plus 50 years.