The Free-Use Movement


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.

Definitions of Public Domain, Fair Use, and Copyleft

There are hordes of that ubiquitous stuff called "content" on the Web for the taking. ... read more »

Finding Free Content Online

Ideally all the free-use content in the world would be accessible and searchable from one massive ... read more »

Public Domain Photos and Other Free-Use Images

With the spread of digital cameras, everyone has become a photographer-and photographers love to ... read more »

Finding Free Books and Public Domain Literature

Though visual and audio media certainly rule the Web these days in terms of sheer quantity, there's ... read more »

Public Domain Music and Free Audio Downloads

The Internet is a noisy place, with many audio offerings such as sound effects, midi clips and ... read more »

Free-Use Video and Film

With the proliferation of broadband access, digital video recorders like TiVo, and the massive ... read more »

The Free-Use Movement

Now that you've seen what the free-use world has to offer, you might want to get more involved yourself. Perhaps you're an artist, a musician, or a writer and want people to enjoy your work. Maybe you're a lawyer with some expertise to offer all these creative souls. You might just be a curious person with an itch to change the world and keep our culture churning. These sites and tips will help you do all these things so that you and free-use can continue to grow.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Many-indeed most-of the sites listed in this guide are user-based. If you like one in particular, try posting your own work and see where it takes you. Beware, though: despite your use of CC licenses, not everyone is as trustworthy as you are. You're always opening your work up to misuse when you put it online. Think of it as leaving your work on the streets of New York with a note saying "please be nice to me."
  • Most free-use organizations are run on a volunteer basis. If you have particularly useful expertise, such as law experience or programming, your help would be especially well received.
  • Subscribing to the newsletters or updates of free-use sites is a good way to keep up to date with the movement and with what people are putting online. Many blogs and podcasts also use RSS feeds, a type of format that allows you to get new content from frequently updated sites automatically. Go to or for more information on RSS feeds.

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