This page will assist with questions regarding the following:
Public Domain is a status given to publications, creative works, or other types of works that are no longer protected by copyright (see top, right image). No one legally owns these works, so they can be reused or repurposed by anyone!
How can public domain works be used?
This Research Guide provides links to comprehensive information on public domain, when items enter it, and where public domain works can be found.
If I reuse a public domain work, do I need to cite it? Although these works are free of copyright restrictions, attributing a public domain work is good practice from the standpoints of academic integrity and the respect of intellectual property. Using a public domain work does not violate copyright, but failing to attribute it or wrongfully claiming authorship is considered plagiarism (Crews, 2020, pg. 58). Therefore, citing a public domain work is just the ethically right thing to do!
Disclaimer: The FAU Libraries and its faculty, staff, and administration are not attorneys and cannot interpret the law. This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not substitute for advice from legal counsel.
Source: Crews, K. D. (2020). Copyright law for librarians and educators: Creative strategies and practical solutions (4th Ed.). ALA Editions.
Various web pages and meta-lists include links to public domain works; these may sometimes include works with copyright protection.
Recommended: check on any copyright information that may be available on any work of interest to be sure it is actually in the public domain, and document it.
Web Pages and Meta-Lists
Books and Texts
Images and Museums
Quick Tip: Use these sites' search features to limit items to Creative Commons or Public Domain works.
Music (Sound, Sheet Music)
US Copyright Office and Federal Law
Public Domain in Plain Language
Determine If a Work is in The Public Domain