This is the "What Do Public Domain & Creative Commons Mean?" page of the "Finding Public Domain & Creative Commons Media" guide.
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Finding Public Domain & Creative Commons Media   Tags: creative commons, how_to, images, public domain  

This guide will help you find and correctly attribute public domain and Creative Commons media for your project or presentation.
Last Updated: Dec 11, 2014 URL: http://guides.library.harvard.edu/Finding_Images Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

What Do Public Domain & Creative Commons Mean? Print Page
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Public Domain versus Creative Commons

Public Domain LogoWhen you are adding images, videos and other content that you did not create to your presentation, it is important to make sure that you are not violating anyone's copyright. One way to do so is to find public domain images for your presentations. Copyright.gov explains the public domain as follows: "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. Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner." Because such works can be used without first seeking permission, they are ideal for many projects, particularly those that will extend beyond educational uses.

Note: Even if a work that you use is in the public domain, it is advisable to provide attribution for the work or, at a minimum, keep a record of the attribution of the work, so that you or other interested parties can find it later if necessary.

Creative Commons Logo

If you can't find Public Domain media that fit your needs, you can also use Creative Commons-licensed content as long as you ensure that you correctly attribute this content to its creator and otherwise meet the terms of the license under which the image is offered. You can find more information about this on the Creative Commons FAQ.

Note: Even if content is covered by a Creative Commons license, you must always make sure that your use does not violate that license and that you properly attribute the content.

This video from CreativeCommons.org offers an overview of Creative Commons.

 

How do the licenses work?

Check out this infographic by adityadipankar for a quick intro to the various types of Creative Commons licenses. If you are interested in learning more about these licenses, CreativeCommons.org offers more information.

Creative Commons Infographic

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As the Emerging Technologies and Research Librarian, Carli Spina teaches classes on legal research and technology topics, conducts research consultations, develops guides to both substantive law and technological topics, and works on a wide range of web projects for the Harvard Law School Library.
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