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Copyright: Public Domain

Is the work that I want to use covered by copyright?

Use these cool tools to help determine if the U.S. work you wish to use is in the public domain.

Open Educational Resources

Open educational resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes.

See the Logan Library's research guide on Open Educational Resources.

Public Domain

Creative materials that are either no longer protected by copyright or never were protected by copyright are in the public domain. Anyone can use them without obtaining permission because nobody owns them. Works enter the public domain typically because the copyright has expired, the copyright holder did not follow copyright renewal rules, the copyright holder purposely placed the works in the public domain, or copyright does not protect this type of work. Works authored by U.S. federal government employees as part of their official U.S. government job are in the public domain. Other works available for immediate use include those covered under a Creative Commons license and those available via Open Access.

Selected Public Domain, Open Access, and Creative Common Resources

Creative Commons: Search for items covered under a Creative Commons license or in the public domain.  Always be sure to verify that the work is actually under a CC license by following the link.  When in doubt, contact the copyright holder directly, or try to contact the site where you found the content.

Flickr: Search for the photo or video content of interest, click on the Advanced search link, and limit to All Creative Commons.

     Biodiversity Heritage Library: Over 158,000 free plant and animal illustrations.

Open Library: Over one million free e-book titles to read.

Openclipart.orgOver 175,000 free images. Free photos and videos. Use the pull-down menu in the search box to select to search for photos or videos. Teachers and students can use the copyright-friendly photos and illustrations for classroom projects, web sites, videos, portfolios, or any other projects in an educational setting.

Pixabay: Search for the free images and royalty free stock of interest. Over 1.9 million high quality stock images, videos, and music are shared.

Project Gutenberg: Over 50, 000 free e-books and free Kindle book titles to read.

Sherpa-Romeo Database for Publisher's Open Access PoliciesSearch for journal article permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement. Over a million free high-resolution photos.

Wikimedia Commons: Search for the media content of interest, click on the file of interest, and read the usage limitations.  Most items are covered under a Creative Commons license or in the public domain.

YouTube: Enter the keywords of interest in the search box, click on the YouTube filter, and click on the Search button. 

YouTube ChannelSearch for the video content of interest. Most content produced by the U.S. federal government is in the public domain.  Content produced by a sub-contractor of the U.S. government is often not if the public domain.