Public Domain

I am a passionate advocate for a robust public domain. No artist creates in a vacuum — we’re all influenced by the people and world around us. Although there’s value in having limited copyright protection, I believe that it’s important that the ownership of creative works eventually is returned to everyone, both to honor humanity’s shared contribution to its creation, and to help keep it alive and not forgotten.

Public Domain FAQ

What is the public domain?
When the copyright on a work expires it enters the public domain, which means we can do anything we want with it, re-use it, re-mix it, or share it. Here’s a link about some general info about the public domain ( and a link about the 2020 Public Domain Day (

How do I know if something is in the public domain?
Copyright law is a mess and there is a lot of contradictory information on internet, so 100% verification is difficult. That said, as a general rule in the United States, anything published 1924 or earlier is in the public domain, EXCEPT for sound recordings which will not start entering the public domain until 2022. Please keep in mind that if someone transforms or “adds value” to something in the public domain, the things you’ve added **ARE** copyrighted. For example, the Lewis Carrol book *Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland* is in the public domain, but the Disney movie *Alice in Wonderland* will not be in the public domain until 2047. For very detailed rules on copyright and public domain visit here:

Additional Info on Copyright Law and the Public Domain

• Bound By Law – Graphic Novel about Public Domain
• Copyright Law and Sound Recordings
• Photos of Artwork
• Public Domain Sherpa

Discord Channel Info: Mining-the-Public-Domain
On our Discord channel Mining-the-Public-Domain you can share amazing content you find that is in the public domain, both individual pieces of work as well as links to places that host lots of work in the public domain. I will be featuring some of the content you find during a periodic “Public Domain Showcase” on stream, as well as using some images as album covers and new emotes.

Where to Find Work in the Public Domain

IMPORTANT: Not all work you find on these links is in the public domain. In the above FAQ learn how you can better verify what is in the public domain and what is still under copyright.
Variety of Content

• Public Domain Review
• Internet Archive (
• National Archives
Smithsonian Open Acces
New York Public Library Digital Collections
Wellcome Collection
Biodiversity Heritage Library

Visual Art

• Met Museum
• National Gallery of Art
• Art Institute of Chicago
• Rijks Museum
• Louvre
• The Getty
• Library of Congress – Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
• Library of Congress – Free to Use collection
• Library of Congress on Flickr
• Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs
• British Library Collection on Flickr
• Old Book Illustrations
•, The Encylopedia of Fine Arts
• Wikiart Visual Art Encyclopedia


• David Rumsey Map Collection
• Library of Congress Map Collection

Books (also can be a good source of images)

• Project Gutenberg (Search)
• Project Gutenberg (Children’s Picture Books Shelf)
• Google Books Search


• Poetry Magazine Archives
• Poetry Foundation

Film Video

Internet Archive Film
• Youtube (try typing in a year prior to 1925 in search: e.g. 1924 animation or 1924 film)
Wikipedia List of Films in the Public Domain

Sheet Music

• The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection (John Hopkins University collection)
• Vocal Popular Sheet Music Collection (University of Maine)
• Parlor Salon Sheet Music Collection (University of Maine)
• African American Sheet Music (Brown University collection)