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Image, Music, & Video Searching: Home

Best practices and helpful resources for image, music, and video searching on the Internet.

Understanding Public Domain & Creative Commons

Public domain works are either ineligible for copyright or have expired copyrights. Creative commons allows creators to set their own licensing for reuse by others.

Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner. According to the U. S. Copyright Office, a work of authorship is in the public domain if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Many U.S. federal government documents are not entitled to copyright protection under U.S. law; therefore, images within many government publications and web sites are free to use.

When Does a Copyrighted work become Public Domain in the US?

  • Items published before 1923
  • Works published 1923-1963 whose copyright was not renewed.
  • Works created by a U.S. federal government officer or employee as part of official duties. Items such as those published by the U.S. Government printing office, Supreme Court Decisions; the CIA Factbook, and many other documents including the descriptions of patents that have been granted by the USPTO (but this does not give others permission to manufacture or use the invention during the life of the patent without permission from the inventor).

Some web sites are allowing their users to choose a Creative Commons license. This nonprofit organization offers a number of licenses which users can designate their own terms ranging form 'Some Rights Reserved' to public domain. Creative Commons-licensed materials are not all public domain, you will have to look closely to be sure.  CC attributions vary, therefore you must read the summary of the license to understand how to use the image, texts, videos, music etc.

Whenever possible, images should come from the public domain or Creative Commons.

Copyright Information for SJR State Students and Faculty

The SJR State Division of Library Services has compiled resources that will help you make informed decisions about the proper use of copyrighted materials in your courses. Visit the Library’s Copyright Information page. 

Peer-to-Peer File Sharing - While Peer-to-Peer (P2P) technologies facilitate collaborative work, creativity, and have many important and legitimate uses. However, some forms of peer-to-peer file sharing violate the copyright law. To assist you in understanding the parameters of peer-to-peer file sharing visit the P2P File Sharing guide. A list of legal alternatives is made available through EDUCAUSE.

Faculty should contact Dr. Christina Will, Dean of Library Services, with specific copyright concerns.

Brittnee Fisher-Subject Liaison for Florida School of the Arts Programs & Science Department

Brittnee Fisher's picture
Brittnee Fisher
SJR State College
Palatka Campus Library
5001 St. Johns Avenue
Palatka, FL 32177