Category: Resources

Public Domain & Creative Commons Resources

Public Domain Content

Multiple Media Types

Wikimedia Commons:
“A database of 4,909,797 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute.”

Creative Commons Search


Project Gutenberg:
A database containing the text of over 30,000 (primarily public domain) books.


U.S. Government Photos and Images:
Most, but not all of these, will be public domain. So check the license terms for the particular site you are in.

The Library of Congress has a Flickr site and “[a]lthough the Library of Congress does not grant or deny permission to use photos, the Library knows of no copyright restrictions on the publication, distribution, or re-use of these photos. “:

Flickr – Creative Commons Search
Flickr Commons- Museums and Archives


1. CCmixter – Music

2. Freesound – Sound Effects

3. PDSound – Sound Effects

4. Sound Bible – Sound Effects

5. Public Domain Information Project – Music & Sheet music

6. Musopen

7. ibeat – free beats, loops & breaks

8. Free Music Archive – Music

9. Jamendo


1. Entertainment Magazine’s Free Movies

2. Public Domain movies

3. Open Video Project

4. Internet Archive

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright.

They provide free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof.

Attributing Creative Commons Works

1. Keep intact any copyright notices for the Work

  • If the original Work has a copyright notice, then include it when you use or cite the Work

2. Credit the author, licensor and/or other parties in the manner they specify

  • If creator says, “Please attribute John Smith” then attribute John Smith
  • If there is no note but a copyright notice, attribute the copyright holder
  • If no note and no notice, but a username, check the creator’s profile for more information
  • If there is none of the above, attribute the website by name

3. Include the Title of the Work

  • If the Work has a title, then include it
  • If the Work has no title, use appropriate reference: “Untitled” by John Smith

4. Include the URL for the Work if applicable

  • Link back to the original source wherever possible
  • Some print uses may allow for alternatives

5. Include the URL for the Creative Commons license that applies
6. Derivative works should acknowledge the derivation

On the Internet or in other electronic resources, links to sources and licenses may be embedded within the document and appear as:

An Ideal Attribution

This video features the song “Play Your Part (Pt.1)” by Girl Talk, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license. © 2008, Greg Gillis.

A Realistic Attribution

Photo by mollyali, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

A Derivative Work Attribution

This is a video adaptation of the novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. Copyright © 2003 Cory Doctorow.

A PDF version of this document is also available for download.

Creative Commons License
Document by Anthony Helm. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. It is derived and includes text from Molly Kleinman http://

Copyright & Fair Use


The Media Center must follow copyright laws when converting, copying or editing media formats. Fair Use doctrine and the Teach Act specify that portions of films, television shows, audio works and text can be used for educational purposes under certain conditions. The media center equipment may not be used in a manner that would violate copyright.

The following information compiles helpful guides and best practices when navigating the confusing world of Fair Use & Copyright.  Feel free to contact with any specific question you may have regarding the use of copyrighted materials in audio & video productions as well as in class use.

Fair Use

Fair use is the right, in some circumstances, to quote copyrighted material without asking permission or paying for it. Fair use enables the creation of new culture, and keeps current copyright holders from being private censors. With the Washington College of Law, the Center for Social Media creates tools for creators, teachers, and researchers to better use their fair use rights.  The following are some resources created by the Center for Social Media that can serve as a guide to follow best practices in applying fair use to your projects.

Fair Use Checklist-Help deciding if you can use a copyrighted work in your project

Copyright slider to help determine if work is in the Public Domain

Code of best practices in online video

Full guidelines for online video


The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education

Full list of guidelines for Media Literacy Education


Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use

Full set of guidelines for Documentary Filmmakers

Examples of Successful Fair Use in Documentary Film

Fair Use Frequently Asked Questions


Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication

Guidelines for Scholarly Research here

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