Public Domain, Free Use and Copyleft Media
It feels good to get free stuff. In fact that’s probably why many of us get on the Web in the first place. But behind the usual blogs and Web sites lies untold fortunes of free-use content, all available for you to use legally and with a clean conscience. All the resources you need are there, whether to explore literature spanning the human experience or to find thousands of photos to spice up any project. There are even sites to help you understand all the copyright snags you might encounter along the way.
There are hordes of that ubiquitous stuff called "content" on the Web for the taking. ... read more »
Ideally all the free-use content in the world would be accessible and searchable from one massive granddaddy of a site. Believe it or not, that is what a few organizations are attempting to create. While we're not yet there-not by a long shot-these sites have taken the first steps toward that end. They'll help you search and browse your way through a growing body of free-use content.
- Many Web sites, particularly broad ones such as these, have different criteria for searching free-use content. If you don't find what you want on one, try another.
- General free-use sites such as these are just that: general. Many other, more specialized sites exist. Check out the following sections if you have a more specific idea of what you're looking for.
- Free does not always mean free-use. Unless you're on a trusted Web site with a known license policy, always check the copyright of a specific work yourself. In the end you-and no one else-are responsible for what you use.
' in-house search engine provides an easy way to search for CC-licensed work using some of the Web's more common search engines. Clicking on the various tabs allows you to switch between different types of content searches, such as an image search with the Flickr tab or a video search using the Blip.tv tab. Two easy buttons allow you to filter either for work you can use for commercial projects or for that which you can modify yourself.
The Internet Archive
's collection of collections is a bit unwieldy, but the promise of substantial reserves lies behind the obscure interface. The organizing force behind much of the archiving and free-use movement, this site contains an enormous hodgepodge of archives and archiving tools. However, the legal status of the content is not always clear depending on which section of the site you're using. It can provide a good jumping-off point, but you might need to do a little detective work to learn the copyright status of many works here.
illustrates well the difference between free and free-use, housing a number of lists of sites offering free
content. Regardless, much free-use
content can be found here as well, particularly in the "free sound" and "free images" sections.
is the online arm of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. A large portion of the public domain and other free-use content is made up of government material, much of which can be accessed here.
With the spread of digital cameras, everyone has become a photographer-and photographers love to ... read more »
Though visual and audio media certainly rule the Web these days in terms of sheer quantity, there's ... read more »
The Internet is a noisy place, with many audio offerings such as sound effects, midi clips and ... read more »
With the proliferation of broadband access, digital video recorders like TiVo, and the massive ... read more »
Now that you've seen what the free-use world has to offer, you might want to get more involved ... read more »
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