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Public Domain and Creative Commons: A Guide to Works You Can Use Freely: Sources for Learning More

Here is an in-depth guide to using public domain and Creative Commons materials for your theses, dissertations, publications, and other scholarly projects.

Public Domain Sources

Online sources:

Besek, J. (2005).  Copyright Issues Relevant to Digital Preservation and Dissemination of Pre-1972 Commercial Sound Recordings. (CLIR Publication no. 135).

Besek, J. (2009). Copyright and Related Issues Relevant to Digital Preservation and Dissemination of Unpublished Pre-1972 Sound Recordings by Libraries and Archives. (CLIR Publication no. 144).

Brewer, M. (2023). Digital Copyright Slider.

Copyrights, Title 17 United States Code.

Cornell University Copyright Services. (2023). Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States.

Crews, K. (2009). Duration and the Public Domain. In Columbia University Libraries/Information Services Copyright Advisory Office.

Duke Law School. (2023). Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

Gasaway, L. (2009). A Defense of the Public Domain: A Scholarly Essay. Law Library Journal, 101, (4), 451-470. 

Public Domain Sherpa. (2023). Public Domain Sherpa: Public Domain or Copyrighted? Here's How to Tell.

Stanford University Libraries. (2023). The Public Domain. In Copyright and Fair Use Overview.

U.S. Copyright Office. (1891-1978). Catalog of Copyright Entries. (United States Copyright Office). 

U.S. Copyright Office. (1978-present). Copyright Catalog. (United States Copyright Office).

U.S. Copyright Office. (2011). Duration of Copyright: Provisions of the Law Dealing with the Length of Copyright Protection. (United States Copyright Office Circular no. 15a).

U.S. Copyright Office. (2013). How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work. (United States Copyright Office Circular no. 22).


Print sources:


Boyle, J. (2010). The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. 
(Call number: 346.048 B7293p; also available online under a CC: BY-NC-SA license)

Donaldson, M. (2008). Clearance and Copyright: Everything You Need to Know for Film and Television. Los Angeles: Silman-James Press.
(Call number: 346.730482 D6767c 2008)

Fishman, S. (2010). The Public Domain: How To Find and Use Copyright-Free Writings, Music, Art and More. Berkeley, CA: Nolo.
(Call number: 346.730482 .F5378p 2010)

Litman, J. (1990). The Public Domain. Emory Law Journal, 39, (4), 965-1023.  (Available online from a Journal Title search)

Samuelson, P. (2003). Mapping the Digital Public Domain: Threats and Opportunities. Law and Contemporary Problems, 66, (1/2), 147-171. (Available online from a Journal Title search)

Disclaimer

Disclaimer: This tutorial on using public domain materials, Creative Commons licensed materials, and copyright law is provided for informational purposes only!  I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal advice.  None of what you read in this tutorial should be construed as legal advice.  Should you require legal advice, please contact an attorney.   

Creative Commons Sources

Online Sources:

Creative Commons. (2010). Creative Commons. Retrieved from http://creativecommons.org/

Lessig, L. (2004). Free Culture How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. New York: Penguin Press. Retrieved from http://www.free-culture.cc/freecontent/

O'Sullivan, M. (2008). Creative Commons and Contemporary Copyright: A Fitting Shoe or "a Load of Old Cobblers?". First Monday 13, (7), <n.p>. Retrieved from http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2087/1919

Rens, A. (2006). Managing Risk and Opportunity in Creative Commons Enterprises. First Monday 11, (6), <n.p.> Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v11i6.1336


Print Sources:

Bollier, D. (2008). Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own.  New York: New Press.
(Call number: Missoula College 303.4834 B692v)

Donaldson, M. (2008). Clearance and Copyright: Everything You Need to Know for Film and Television. Los Angeles: Silman-James Press.

(Call number: 346.730482 D6767c 2008)