Welcome! This library research guide provides an introduction to library resources related to finding public domain resources, using both the library's resources as well as those available online.
Free for commercial use
No attribution required
"Essentially, all works first published in the United States prior to 1923 are considered to be in the public domain in the United States, as are works published between 1923 and 1963 on which copyright registrations were not renewed. Materials created since 1989, other than those created by the U.S. federal government, are presumptively protected by copyright... In addition, you must also consider other forms of legal protection, such as trademark or patent protection, before reusing third-party content.
Public domain materials generally fall into one of four categories:
Examples of resources in the public domain:
Note: Please consult our Copyright Policies and Guidelines guide and our Creative Commons guide to make sure you are following correct procedure and attributing/citing properly, or ask a librarian!
Remember: "Works that are in the public domain in one legal jurisdiction are not necessarily in the public domain worldwide. Copyright laws differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, both in duration of protection and what constitutes copyrightable subject matter."
Quoted text: Copyright Clearance Center. "Copyright: An Overview." Copyright Infringement, edited by Roman Espejo, Greenhaven Press, 2009. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010595206/OVIC?u=lom_stclaircocc&sid=OVIC&xid=b79dd62b.Originally published as "Copyright Basics,", 2008.
"Public Domain." Creative Commons, 2 Dec. 2013, wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/Public_domain. This wiki is licensed to the public under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
"Frequently Asked Questions." Creative Commons, 2019, https://creativecommons.org/faq/. This content is licensed to the public under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
"public domain" AND (photograph OR art OR image)
"public domain music"
"public domain" AND (audio OR sound OR recording)
"public domain" AND (film OR video)
"public domain" AND animation
"public domain" AND resources
This checklist is designed to assist in the determination of Fair Use when considering using a copyrighted work.
More information about Fair Use.