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Copyright

About the Copyright LibGuide

Are you concerned about online instruction and copyright? In order to help you prepare for this new frontier, the Copyright Advisor has added a new workshop, Copyright for Online Instruction. See Events, below to register and for more information.

Copyright tips for transitioning to online course delivery:

Key points to remember:

  1. Most of the legal issues are the same whether instruction is in person or online.
  2. If it was okay to do in class, it is likely okay online – especially if online access is limited to the same enrolled students (e.g. Blackboard or emails to students).
  3. You can continue to apply MRU’s Fair Dealing Guidelines online.

Additional points:

  • Use password-protected systems like Blackboard to make material available to students enrolled in your class, and see if you can use Google to deliver lectures with copyrighted content.
  • Post in-class slides to Blackboard. Slides provided by textbook publishers can almost always be used, according to their Terms of Use.
  • Course readings rules for print and electronic materials in Blackboard are similar. Stick to MRU’s Fair Dealing Guidelines, the Library’s electronic resources, or link out to legally uploaded content on the Internet. Legally uploaded means content that was clearly uploaded by the copyright owner or with their permission and that is not behind any form of login or password protection.
  • Contact MRU’s Copyright Advisor at MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca to check license terms, and assess legality of content on the Internet, or if you need to use more than fair dealing permits.
  • Your Subject/Liaison Librarian may be able to help you find alternative content as the MRU Library has a large collection of online journals and e-books that can help support online learning. Your librarian can also help you find openly licensed teaching materials like Open Educational Resources (OER).
  • Use phone apps like Genius Scan or Adobe Scan to easily scan to post print materials to Blackboard within the limits allowed by the Fair Dealing Guidelines. Make scanned PDF files more accessible for your students by using an optical character recognition (OCR) online tool to convert "non-selectable" text files into more accessible versions.
  • Sharing audiovisual material like films and audio files is more complex, but remember that you can still link to legally posted online content (from YouTube, Ted Talks, etc.). The MRU Library also has 11 streaming video databases that you may link to. Standard commercial streaming options like Netflix, Crave or Disney Plus that students may also subscribe to can be an option – though some students may not have access to those services. Copyright exception s. 30.01, which extends the classroom for online deliver may also apply, so contact the Copyright Advisor if you need help to implement this copyright exception as there are rules that need to be followed to use it. 
  • Check out the Academic Development Centre's Keep Teaching website!

Fair dealing guidelines or license agreements

In-lecture use of audio or video

Here, the differences between online and in-person teaching can be a bit more complex. Playing audio or video of legally-obtained physical media (music or audio visual materials like DVDs or CDs for example) during an in-person class session is permitted under Section 29.5 of the Copyright Act. However, that exemption generally doesn't cover playing the same media online.

If you can limit audio and video use for your course to relatively brief clips, you may be able to include those in lecture recordings or live-casts using your institution's fair dealing guidelines in the Copyright Act. At MRU the Fair Dealing Guidelines allow you to use up to 10% of a copyrighted work to be distributed to students in your class only. For media use longer than brief clips, you may need to have students independently access the content outside of your lecture videos. Some further options are outlined below.

Where to post your videos

There may be some practical differences in outcomes depending on where you post new course videos. The MRU Library can provide storage and streaming of videos that can be restricted to the students in your class only. You can also post videos within your course's Blackboard website. If you already use services like YouTube to teach, remember to continue to be copyright compliant. Please note that it is more likely that videos posted on YouTube may encounter some automated copyright enforcement, such as a takedown notice, or disabling of included audio or video content. These automated enforcement tools are often incorrect when they flag audio, video, or images included in instructional videos. If you encounter something like this that you believe to be in error, you can contact MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca for assistance.

Course readings and other resources

Hopefully, by mid-semester, your students have already gotten access to most assigned reading materials. As always your subject librarian can help with getting things online - linking to the Libraries’ licensed resources, finding ebooks where available, and much more.

If you want to share additional materials with students as you revise instructional plans, or if you want students to share more resources with each other in an online discussion board, keep in mind some simple guidelines below.

It's always easiest to link!

Linking to publicly available online content like news websites, existing online videos, etc. is rarely a copyright issue (Better not to link to existing content that looks obviously infringing - e.g. Joe Schmoe's YouTube video of the entire "Avengers: Endgame" movie is probably not a good thing to link to). But linking to most YouTube videos, especially ones that allow sharing and embedding, should be fine.

Linking to subscription content through the MRU Library is also a great option. Much of the library’s licensed content will have DOIs, PURLs, or other "permalink" or "persistent link" options, all of which should work even for off-campus users. Contact your subject librarian directly for assistance.

Sharing copies and scanning

Making copies of new materials for students (by downloading and uploading files, or by scanning from physical documents) can present some copyright issues, but they're not different from those involved in deciding whether to share something online with your students when you are meeting in-person. At MRU, faculty and instructors are encouraged to read and apply the Fair Dealing Guidelines when they are making decisions about when they think they can make copies for students to post to Blackboard.

The Copyright Advisor is available to help faculty understand the relevant issues. Some app tools that you can use to easily digitize fair dealing amounts of material from your phone to post are Genius Scan and Adobe Scan. Please keep in mind that you can make any scanned PDF files more accessible for your students by using an online optical character recognition (OCR) tool that can be used to convert "non-selectable" text files into machine-readable or recognized text.

When an instructor needs to make more copyrighted material available to students than the Fair Dealing Guidelines allows, the Copyright Advisor can assist in making these determinations and can also help you seek formal copyright permissions to provide copies to students – but there may be some issues with getting permissions on short timelines. If you require digital copies of physical reserve materials, please contact libcirc@mtroyal.ca.

Please note that even in this environment it will be difficult to obtain permission to scan and post entire books, particularly required textbooks. Therefore, it is important to only identify critical selections from these works that you would like to use. An alternative way to find course materials is to a look online for free to use teaching resources like Open Educational Resources. Just remember to attribute! You can also search the MRU Library, which has a large collection of journals and many ebooks that can support on-line learning. Your Librarians can also help!!

Multimedia viewing or listening

Showing an entire movie or film or musical work online does represent more of a copyright issue than playing it in class - but there may be options for your students to access it independently online. MRU already has some licensed streaming content which you are welcome to use in your online course.

We may also be able to purchase streaming access for additional media, but as this takes time, standard commercial streaming options like commonly subscribed to services like Netflix, Crave, Disney Plus or Spotify and Apple Music that students may also personally subscribe to and can access using their own accounts may sometimes be the easiest option. (For exclusive content, the commercial services may be the only option.)

Copyright exception Section 30.01 can also apply, contact the Copyright Advisor if you need help to implement this copyright exception as there are rules that need to be followed to use it such as

  • Copying without breaking Digital Locks;
  • A clear notice to students; and
  • You must delete the copy in Blackboard or the password protected location you posted the audiovisual material within 30 days after course evaluations have been issued.
What can you do if you have a scheduled screening for a film that is not available online?

If you have a scheduled film screening and the film is not available digitally through one of our electronic databases, you may be able to conduct a virtual screening using the distance education exception in the Copyright Act (Section 30.01). This exception is not widely used as it includes a variety of requirements, such as:

  • You must not break a technical protection measure (Section 41.1) when you make the copy. The easiest way to make a copy without breaking a TPM is to use screen capture software that enables the copying of DVD content after the content has been lawfully decrypted by a licensed computer DVD player. The University of Calgary has compiled more information about copying audiovisual works;
  • You must clearly post that the copy is being made using this exception such as “You are receiving access to this teaching resource under s. 30.01 of the Copyright Act, for use in this class only. If you retain a copy, this exception requires that you delete the copy 30 days after you have received the final evaluation for the course.”
  • You must delete the copy in Blackboard or the password protected location you posted the audiovisual material within 30 days after course evaluations have been issued.

One way to meet the requirements of this section may be to live-stream the screening (accessible only to your students). If you do make a recording, please contact the Copyright Advisor to ensure that you meet the requirements above.

Ownership of online course materials

The MRU Intellectual Property Policy affirms that faculty members own the copyright in their academic works, including instructional content. Some units and departments may have different practices and policies around ownership and use of course materials at the unit level, but you would likely already be aware of that if it is applicable.

Some units may also have some shared expectations of shared access to course video for continuity of educational experiences, without those expectations affecting the ownership of the materials. Instructors may want to include language in their Blackboard site or course syllabus that makes it clear that students cannot reuse or re-post their instructor’s course materials without permission.

University policies also affirm that students own the copyright in their own coursework. Instructors can require them to submit it in particular formats, but the students continue to own their works unless a separate agreement is signed by the student.

Attribution

 This transitioning to online course delivery resource is adapted for Mount Royal University from material prepared by the Copyright Office, University of Minnesota document Copyright Services, Rapidly shifting your course from in-person to online. Unless otherwise noted, all content on the Copyright Information section of this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License. We would like to acknowledge some contribution of adaptation language from University of Toronto Scholarly Communications & Copyright Office and Ryerson University Library.

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, why don't we cite it?question-mark-32 by quimono via Pixabay licensed under Pixabay License.

I'm sure you've all heard the old adage, "a picture is worth 1,000 words." However, few of us take it to heart. If we were to incorporate 1,000 of someone else's words in anything we produced, we would always cite it for ethical and legal reasons. But in today's sharing-based online world, we cut, paste, download, and repost other people's images (which include photos, clip-art, maps, diagrams, charts, and basically anything else) without even thinking about it.

But we should.

If we consider someone else's image to be worthy of incorporating into our own work, then it deserves recognition in the form of citation and considerations around legality (i.e. copyright). Students, faculty, and staff use images in an increasing number of assignments, research papers, presentations, portfolios, websites, etc., but few consider the ethical and legal ramifications of doing so. 

In today's highly litigious world, we are seeing a rise in claims of copyright infringement in the use of other people's work, so if you're unsure whether you can or should use someone else's work in your own, contact the Copyright Advisor or attend a workshop (there are memes!).

The most important thing to remember is that every time you use an image it must be cited; but also keep in mind that simply citing someone else's work does not give you the legal right to use it!

And if you're confused why you need to cite images in the public domain, consider this: would you quote a single line from Shakespeare without giving him due credit?

Want to know more? Register for one of my copyright workshops here.

News, workshops, and events

Fall, 2020

Upcoming Copyright Workshops

Copyright for Online Instruction (Online Workshop):

Join Alana Zanbilowicz, MRU's Copyright Advisor, for a quick, practical overview of copyright in a world of online delivery. This informative 1-hour online workshop will review:

  • What types of materials you can share with your students and how
  • How to source digital and streaming works off the Internet
  • How to remind your students that you own copyright in your lectures And much more!

Register for your choice of session:  

Tuesday, August 18 at 10 am

Thursday, August 20 at 1 pm

Tuesday, August 25 at 10 am

Wednesday, August 26 at 1 pm

Tuesday, September 1 at 11 am

⇒  Wednesday, September 2 at 1 pm

⇒  Wednesday, September 9 at 10 am

⇒  Thursday, September 17 at 10 am

 

Teaching with Movies and Other Media:

It’s not always clear how and where you can use films and other media in class, on Blackboard, or distributed to your students and how your User Rights under the Copyright Act apply. Join Alana Zanbilowicz, MRU’s Copyright Advisor as she examines:

  • Copyright basics
  • Your user rights under the Copyright Act
  • How to source copyright friendly movies and videos
  • Where, when and how to incorporate these resources in your teaching

  Tuesday, September 22 at 10 am 

  Wednesday, September 23 at 1 pm 

  Thursday, September 24 at 11 am 

 

Using Electronic Images:

Knowing how to incorporate electronic images in your course materials in a copyright friendly way can be confusing. Join Copyright Advisor Alana Zanbilowicz in a workshop that will answer your questions. In this session you will explore:

  • Copyright basics
  • Your user rights under the Copyright Act
  • How to source copyright friendly electronic images
  • Where, when and how to incorporate these images in your teaching to reduce your risk

  Tuesday, September 29 at 10 am 

  Wednesday, September 30 at 1 pm 

  Thursday, October 1 at 11 am 

 

Copyright for Students:

Students need to understand how copyright affect them in their school work and how they can rely on their user rights to prepare assignments. In this workshop, Alana Zanbilowicz, MRU Copyright Advisor, will take students through a broad overview of their rights and obligations under the Copyright Act.

    ⇒ Upcoming dates TBA (feel free to contact MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca to schedule a closed workshop)

 

Practical Copyright for Instruction:

This introductory workshop covers some of the basic issues instructors face when determining how copyright applies to various types of works in face-to-face and digital classroom environments. Join Alana Zanbilowicz, MRU’s Copyright Advisor as she examines some of the practical applications of copyright in your everyday work.

  ⇒ Upcoming dates TBA (feel free to contact MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca to schedule a closed workshop)

 

Custom Copyright Workshops or in-Class Presentations:

The Copyright Advisor is also pleased to host custom workshops for interested groups, or speak to your class about copyright issues relevant to the course subject matter.  Please give the Copyright Advisor as much time as possible to prepare for these events.

 

January, 2018

Students Posting Instructors' Copyrighted Materials to Third Party Websites

Adrian Sheppard, Director of the University of Alberta's Copyright Office has created a great piece on the issue of students posting instructors' materials on third party websites such as Course Hero. You can read more here


September, 2017

Access Copyright v York University - Update

York University filed its appeal in the Access v York litigation with the Federal Court on Friday, September 22, 2017. More will be posted following receipt and review of all pleadings.


September, 2017

Fair Dealing Myths and Facts

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries has released its Fair Dealing Myths and Facts information sheet, which offers a great breakdown of misinformation around fair dealing. The French language version is available here.


September, 2017

Mount Royal University's Official Statement on Access Copyright v York University

On July 12, the Federal Court released its judgement in the first phase of the Access Copyright v York University litigation.

The Court declared that certain portions of copying by York's employees were subject to the interim tariff issued by the Copyright Board. The Court further determined that this copying did not fall within the "fair dealing" exception established by the Copyright Act.

York has been ordered to pay royalties for the 2011-2013 time frame. In addition, the Court found that York's "Fair Dealing Guidelines" were neither fair in their terms nor in their application.

It should be noted that this decision is very fact-specific and is binding only on the parties to the litigation, and not on other academic institutions.

Mount Royal University continues to review this decision and is following further developments, including York University's announcement that it will appeal this decision.

Our initial analysis indicates that the decision is inconsistent with prior Supreme Court of Canada legal precedents.

Although various course pack producers, publishers and other industry players have suggested that this decision effectively overrules the Copyright Act’s "fair dealing" exception, in fact, the decision does not prevent “fair dealing” of copyrighted material in appropriate circumstances.

The Supreme Court of Canada has, in a number of cases, asserted that the Copyright Act's "fair dealing" exception establishes critical "user rights" for individuals wanting to use copyrighted works. This Federal Court decision in favour of Access Copyright has neither removed nor diminished these statutory user rights.

As Mount Royal University was not a party to this litigation, it is not subject to the Federal Court's ruling. All faculty and staff should continue to follow our Fair Dealing Guidelines.

The University continues to monitor the evolution of this case and will provide updates as applicable.

Services and contacts

  • Custom Copyright Workshops and Classroom Presentations: The Copyright Advisor is happy to create customized workshops for departments with a view to instruction and course design at MRU or come and speak to classes about copyright issues relevant to course content. It is greatly appreciated if you can provide as much lead time as possible.
  • Library Resources: For information on linking to or reproducing MRU Library's electronic materials, ordering new library materials, placing items on reserve, or for specific subject guides, please contact your Subject Librarian.
  • Blackboard: For assistance with your BlackBoard site, please contact the Academic Development Center ("ADC").
  • Course Packs: For information on course packs (including deadlines), please contact the Bookstore.

Events

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Resources

Introduction

Copyright-friendly resources are ones that fall outside of traditional copyright restrictions. These resources may be published using an open access model, may exist in the public domain, or may be covered under alternative licensing agreements such as Creative Commons.

Reverse Image Searches

  • TinEye Reverse Image Search allows you to search for alternative image sources.  This can be helpful when your current source does not permit your desired use, but it is also always good practice to track down the original source/owner to determine use rights.
  • Another option is to right click on an image and select "Search Google for image".

Good Resources on What "Royalty Free" Means

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization that  makes it easy for creators to legally share their work with others under most countries' copyright regimes. They offer a standardized way to grant copyright permissions that anybody can apply to their work to allow others to share, remix, or use the work without having to ask for permission. There are several licenses, each with different terms for users.

Through the CC Search, you can access other sites like Flickr, Google Images, Wikimedia Commons and YouTube and search them for CC licensed materials. Currently you can only search one site at a time. Another option is to use the "Tools" option in Google Image Search and select the CC license terms that apply to your work.

 

Understanding Creative Commons Licensing: the "Terms"

Users can choose to combine any of the following 4 terms to create a license for their work, depending on how they want others to use it:

Terms  Image Description
Attribution All CC licenses require that others who use your work in any way must give you credit the way you request, but not in a way that suggests you endorse them or their use. If they want to use your work without giving you credit or for endorsement purposes, they must get your permission first.
Non Commercial You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and (unless you have chosen No Derivatives) modify and use your work for any purpose other than commercially unless they get your permission first.
Share Alike You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify your work, as long as they distribute any modified work on the same terms. If they want to distribute modified works under other terms, they must get your permission first.
No Derivatives You let others copy, distribute, display and perform only original copies of your work. If they want to modify your work, they must get your permission first.

It is important to consider how you want to use a work before you begin your search.  For example, if you need to make changes, then an "ND" license won't help you.

 

Understanding Creative Commons Licensing: Specific Licenses

The four license conditions described above can be combined to make specific licenses. The 7 license types are:

Title Image Description
Attribution CC-BY This lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon a work, even commercially, as long as they credit the creator for the original creation. This is the most flexible and accommodating license. 
Attribution-NoDerivs  This allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as the licensed work is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to the creator.
Attribution-NonCommercial This lets others remix, tweak, and build upon a work non-commercially, and although new works must also acknowledge the creator and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their new works on the same terms.
Attribution-ShareAlike This lets others remix, tweak, and build upon the work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit the creator and license all new creations under the same license. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, allowing for commercial use. 
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike This lets others remix, tweak, and build upon a work non-commercially, as long as they credit the creator and license their new creations under the identical terms.
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs This is the most restrictive of the licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit the creator, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.

Creative commons Zero

This purports to put the work into the public domain by waiving all ownership rights as allowed under law. This means that anyone can use the work in any way with no attribution required.
 

Image resources


General image resources

Art & history image resources

Science image resources


General image sources

Resource  Use Comments
Artstor In class & Blackboard Some 300 collections of over 2.5 million images allow scholars to examine wide-ranging material such as Native American art from the Smithsonian, treasures from the Louvre, panoramic, 360-degree views of the Hagia Sophia, anthropology from Harvard’s Peabody Museum, archeology from Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Art Archives, and modern history from Magnum Photos.
Calgary Public Library, Community Heritage and Family History Digital Library In class & Blackboard A collection of digitized images and maps from Calgary and Alberta. You can use images from these collections for educational purposes with the following attribution: Courtesy of Calgary Public Library Community Heritage and Family Histories Collection. If you have questions, need a higher-resolution version, or would like permission to include material on a public website, please contact Carolyn Ryder, 403-260-2650, carolyn.ryder@calgarypubliclibrary.com
Creative Commons Search In class & Blackboard A meta-search tool. Can be used to find CC-licensed images on Google Images, Fotopedia, Europeana, etc. Remember to verify that works are CC-licensed by following the links to resources that appear in your results.
Flickr Creative Commons Search In class & Blackboard Use the Flickr Advanced Search to search for CC-licensed images. Look under the “Additional Info” on an image page for licensing info and terms of use.
The Flickr Commons Unrestricted Public domain photography collections supplied by libraries and museums from around the world. Some samples: Vancouver Public Library, the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Images are all in the public domain.
Foodie's Feed Unrestricted Free food photography. Photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used for commercial purposes.
Freepik.com In class & Blackboard Be sure to comply with the terms of the particular CC license that is applied.
Google Advanced Image Search  In class & Blackboard Use the “Usage Rights” option to search for copyright-free materials, and select the limiter for “Commercial Use”. Not all photos found via Google Advanced Image Search can be used – you must search for them properly (see column, left).  If you select the limiter for “Commercial Use”, these images can be used for commercial purposes. Always go directly to the hosting website for downloading and for your citations as "Google Images" is not a source. Also keep in mind to ask if the image was legally uploaded.
Gratisography Unrestricted Photos are licensed under CC License Zero.
IM Free Unrestricted Curated collection of free images, available for commercial use. Most images licensed under CC License 2.0, but check before you use them.
Internet Archive Images In class & Blackboard This library contains digital images uploaded by Archive users which range from maps to astronomical imagery to photographs of artwork. Many of these images are available for free download. See their terms of service.
ISO Republic Unrestricted Free high-quality, copyright-free photos. Can be used for personal and commercial projects. See terms here.
Libraries and Archives Canada In class & Blackboard Historical materials, including images, videos, and written texts, many of which are in the public domain. Please see their copyright page for more info.
Library of Congress Photos, Prints, Drawings In class & Blackboard Historical collection including photographs, prints and drawings, many of which are in the public domain. Please see the Rights & Access drop-down beneath each individual image for more info, with close attention to the "Rights Advisory" notation.
New Old Stock Unrestricted vintage photos from public archives that are free of known copyright restrictions.
New York Public Library Unrestricted As of January 2016, more than 160,000 of the NY Public Library’s public domain images have been released in the highest available resolution. Please see their Terms and Conditions.
The Noun Project In class & Blackboard An extensive collection of Creative Commons-licensed icons and symbols. Icons may be licensed under different CC licenses, so check each license for terms of reuse. A citation will be provided for you when you download an image.
Open Images In class & Blackboard Open Images is an open media platform that offers online access to audiovisual archive material to stimulate creative reuse. Please see their Terms of Use.
Open Street Map In class & Blackboard User-generated maps and data from around the world, free to use under an open license. See the Copyright and License page for information on how you can use these images and data.
Pexels Unrestricted Pexels provides high quality and completely free stock photos licensed under CC0. All photos are tagged, searchable and also easy to discover. Please see their License page.
Picjumbo Unrestricted Free stock photos for personal and commercial use. Search by categories including animals, food, technology, and more. Attribution appreciated. Most uses allowed. See terms of use here.
Picography In class & Blackboard Free, hi-resolution photos. 
Pixabay Unrestricted Photos and clipart published under CC-Public Domain license (free of copyright restrictions). Note that sponsored Shutterstock images are also shown during searches but are not free of copyright restrictions. Those images are marked with a gray background and display the Shutterstock logo.
Public Domain Sherpa - Public Domain maps Unrestricted A list of 21 sources for maps in the Public Domain (in the US). As the site itself notes, most links lead to sites with a mixture of Public Domain and copyrighted materials - the ultimate responsibility for checking and adhering to copyright falls to the user.
Startup Stock Photos Unrestricted Free photos of start-up culture, people working, office spaces, etc. Photos published under CC License 4.0. Can be used for commercial use.
StockSnap.io Unrestricted Hundreds of high resolution images added weekly. Free from copyright restrictions. All photos on StockSnap have been released under Creative Commons - CC0. This license allows you to download, copy, modify, and distribute the photos, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. All photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used for commercial purposes.
Stokpic Unrestricted Free stock photos that deal with a variety of subjects. New photos added every two weeks. No copyright restrictions; public domain.
Superfamous Unrestricted Mostly geological, biological, nature, and aerial photos. All photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used for commercial purposes.
Travel Coffee Book Unrestricted Free travel photos from around the world. 10 new photos every 10 days. You can download all released photos at once. All photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used for commercial purposes.
Unsplash Unrestricted Free high-resolution stock photos depicting a wide variety of subjects. 10 new photos are released every 10 days. All photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used for commercial purposes.
US Government Printing Office Unrestricted US federal government publications created from 1976 onwards are usually available online from the US Government Printing Office. Federal government publications which are prepared by federal employees as part of their official employment enter the Public Domain upon creation, per Title 17, Section 105 of the United States Code. Works created by contractors are generally subject to copyright - with the rights retained by the creator. For a detailed explanation of the Public Domain as it pertains to US Federal Government publications go to askGPO and type "Public Domain" into the search box.
Wellcome Images In class & Blackboard CC BY 2.0 and CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licensed images of thousands of years of human culture. See "Terms of Use" for instructions on attribution. Verify license before use.
Wikimedia Commons Unrestricted 20 million freely usable image, sound, and video files. All files are Public Domain or CC-licensed. Check the “Licensing” section for an image to find any terms and conditions for reuse / instructions on attribution.
Wikimedia: Public Domain Image Resources Unrestricted Public domain image resources is a copy of the master Wikipedia page at Meta, which lists a number of sources of public domain images on the Web. Please see their Terms of Use.

Art & history image resources

Resource  Use Comments
The Bridgeman Art Library In class & Blackboard A unique, comprehensive collection of art masterpieces from a wide range of locations and time periods.
The Collections of the City of Paris Museums In class & Blackboard Nearing 1,000,000 digital images, this is a collection of images of Paris' greatest works taken from all of its museums. Check the usage terms of each collection.
Europeana In class & Blackboard An enormous treasure trove of historical digital resources from museums, galleries, and archives throughout Europe. Photos, artworks, drawings, objects, documents, and films. Many images are in the public domain or have permissive licenses, but check individual images for terms of use (some are not openly licensed). The advanced search tool allows users to filter by images that can be freely and openly used or by specific license.
French Revolution Digital Archive In class & Blackboard The Getty has made 4,600 high-resolution images of their museum collection free to use, modify, and publish for any purpose. Includes paintings, manuscripts, photographs, sculpture, etc. 
Getty Open Content Program In class & Blackboard You let others copy, distribute, display, perform, and modify your work, as long as they distribute any modified work on the same terms. If they want to distribute modified works under other terms, they must get your permission first. From the Search Gateway, select the link for “Open Content Images”, which allows for images available for reuse. Images should be attributed with the statement “Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program”.
Internet Archive Book Images In class & Blackboard Millions of historical images from books scanned by the Internet Archive are available and searchable via tags on Flickr. The pictures date from 1500 to 1922 and include historical photos and drawings. Images are all in the public domain, and have no known copyright restrictions.
Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection Online In class & Blackboard As part of its Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) initiative, the Met now provides access to 400,000 high-resolution digital images of public domain works in its collection. Works covered by the policy are identified on the Museum’s website with the acronym OASC and can be used freely and without permission for non-commercial use, including scholarly/educational uses in any media. Includes iconic paintings, photographs, etchings, sculpture, etc. Image citations must include the creator and source and the URL "www.metmuseum.org." The website's terms and conditions stipulate that images should not be modified and cannot be used for commercial purposes.
Museum of New Zealand Collections Online In class & Blackboard The museum, also called Te Papa Tongarewa, has made 30,000 high-resolution images from their collection available for download and reuse under a CC BY-NC-ND licence. At the Search Gateway, select the button for “with downloadable images”, which allows for images available for reuse. Select the image, then select the “download” button beneath the image. The attribution statement will be provided on the download page.
New Old Stock In class & Blackboard Cole Townsend curates this collection of vintage photos from public archives. The images are free of known copyright restrictions. Clicking on the link under each image will take you to its original post on Flickr, where you can get more information about the image. See Flickr's statement about public photo archives in the Flickr Commons, which have indicated "no known copyright restrictions."
Open Glam Open Collections In class & Blackboard OpenGLAM (Open Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) curates an extensive list of Open Collections from several cultural institutions. See licensing information from individual institutions for applicable terms of reuse.
Oxford Art In class & Blackboard Nearly 20,000 images of works of art, structures, plans, and artists' signatures.
The Smithsonian Institute In class & Blackboard More than 40,000 works being made available for high-resolution download—expanding regularly with new acquisitions. Images can be used for all non-commercial purposes.
Trove-National Library of Australia In class & Blackboard Close to 400,000,000 digital resources including many images, primarily from Australia. Also includes books, maps, music, historic newspapers. Limit your search to "freely available" content using the advanced search. See each resource for specific licensing information.
Vatican Digital Library In class & Blackboard This is an ongoing project aiming to digitize the entire Library's collection of manuscripts including 80,000 codices, mostly from the Middle ages and Humanistic Period.

Science image resources

Resource Use Comments
BioMed Central In class & Blackboard Not an image database. An online publisher of open access biology and medical journals which are Creative-Commons licensed. Figures and graphs in articles are also CC-licensed and available for reuse. Tables and figures published in articles on BioMed Central are available for use under the same CC-BY 2.0 or (starting Feb. 3, 2014) CC-BY 4.0 license as the journal articles. Advance permission is not required, but be sure to include a full citation.
Earth Science World Image Bank In class & Blackboard Maintained by the American Geological Institute (AGI), and provides over 6,000 quality geoscience images. Images are copyrighted, but contributing photographers to allow their images to be used for non-commercial purposes. For full terms, see their Image Use page.
Encyclopedia of Life In class & Blackboard A collaborative online encyclopedia with entries on all kinds of biological entities on Earth. In most cases, content is made available under a Creative Commons license. Check the license for any applicable terms of reuse.

Morphbank:

​Biological Imaging

In class & Blackboard An open web repository of images for use in international collaboration, research, and education in the biological community. Images not password-protected are CC-licensed. Images are available under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license, or under a less restrictive license. Password-protected images may not be used without written authorization from copyright holder.
NASA Images In class & Blackboard NASA Images provides public access to NASA's image, video, and audio collections in a single online resource. (See also: NASA on Flickr Commons). NASA imagery is generally not protected by copyright, so you are free to use it for educational or informational purposes. 
Note: this permission does not extend to any use of the NASA logo.
PLOS One In class & Blackboard Not an image database. An online publisher of open access biology and medical journals which are Creative-Commons licensed. Figures and graphs in articles are also CC-licensed and available for reuse. Tables and figures published in articles on PLOS One are available for use under the same CC-BY 3.0 license as the journal articles. Advance permission is not required, but be sure to include a full citation.
Science Image In class & Blackboard More than 4,000 free science and nature images and videos curated by CSIRO, Australia's major science research organization. Search by keyword or filter by categories including animals, insects, soil science, fire, water, and more. Images are available under CC BY 3.0 license.

Video resources

Source Use Comments
Creative Commons Search In class & Blackboard A meta-search tool. Can be used to find CC-licensed works. Remember to verify that works are CC-licensed by following the links to resources that appear in your results.
Engage Media In class & Blackboard Video sharing site focused on social justice issues in the Asia-Pacific area. Unless otherwise noted, all videos are licensed CC BY 3.0 AU.
Film Chest (At Internet Archive) In class & Blackboard Watch classic animated cartoons from the 1930’s and 1940’s. Its public domain content may be used for any purpose, including commercial use such as broadcasting on television, or as footage in film or video projects. Please see their Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Copyright Policy.
Flickr In class & Blackboard Users can choose to limit the searches to Creative Commons licensed images and videos. Please see their Terms of Service.
HathiTrust In class & Blackboard A digital library that contains over 3,000,000 volumes of Public Domain works - use the "full view" limiter to access the Public Domain works. Please see their Copyright Page.
Google Advanced Image Search  In class & Blackboard Use the “Usage Rights” option to search for copyright-free materials, and select the limiter for “Commercial Use”. Not all photos found via Google Advanced Image Search can be used – you must search for them properly (see column, left).  If you select the limiter for “Commercial Use”, these images can be used for commercial purposes. Always go directly to the hosting website for downloading and for your citations as "Google Images" is not a source. Also keep in mind to ask if the image was legally uploaded.
Internet Archive Videos In class & Blackboard This library contains digital movies uploaded by Archive users which range from classic full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts. Many of these videos are available for free download. Please see their Terms of Use.
Open Video Project In class & Blackboard A repository of open access digitized videos for education and learning purposes. Please see their terms of use.
Prelinger Archives at the Internet Archive In class & Blackboard A collection of ephemeral films. These films are licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain license, and may be freely downloaded, used or reproduced, in whole or in part.
Public Domain Project In class & Blackboard Historic media files for free use. Please see their page on terms of use.
Ted Talks In class & Blackboard 1,900+ Ted Talk videos that can be freely shared for non-commercial purposes. A variety of languages and topics available. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.
Videvo In class & Blackboard Contains free HD stock footage and motion graphics licensed to use in your videos, including Creative Commons licenses. Please see their FAQs to review terms of use.
Vimeo Creative Commons Videos In class & Blackboard Hundreds of thousands of CC-licensed videos on Vimeo. Check each license to see what time of CC license has been applied.
Wikimedia Commons Videos In class & Blackboard A repository of public domain and freely licensed images and videos. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Please see their Terms of Use.
YouTube Advanced Search In class & Blackboard After logging on, users can search for videos tagged with the Creative Commons Attribution license in the Video Editor.  These videos are available to edit, remix, or modify.  Remember to see which CC license was used! The guide "How to find Creative Commons Material using YouTube" explains the process. Please see their Copyright page.

Audio resources

Source Comments
Bandcamp A collection of Creative Commons licensed music. Please see their Terms of Use.
ccMixter An online collection of Creative Commons licensed music. Please see their Terms of Use.
Free Music Archive An online library of audio and video content that the public, including music fans, webcasters, and podcasters, may listen to, download, or stream for free. Please see their Terms of Use.
Freesound A collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps and sounds. Please see their Terms of Use.
HathiTrust A digital library that contains over 3,000,000 volumes of Public Domain works - use the "full view" limiter to access the Public Domain works. Please see their Copyright Page.
International Music Score Library An online database of musical scores and recordings.  All content is in the Public Domain in Canada or the US.  The site includes a "copyright made simple" page that contributors must read before adding content to the portal. Please see their Policy Page.
Internet Archive Audio This library contains recordings ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded by our users. Many of these audios and MP3s are available for free download. Please see their Terms of Service here.
Jamendo Provides CC-licensed music from dozens of genres that you can download with P2P software like BitTorrent and eMule.
Juneberry 78s Early American Roots Music Provides mp3s for a wide variety of Vintage Roots Music. Please see their Public Domain Disclaimer.
Musopen - Free Public Domain Classical Music An online music library of public domain music. Please see their Terms of Use.
Opsound An aggregator that provides links to a vast collection of CC-licensed music from many genres.
Partners in Rhyme Royalty-free music tracks, collections, and sound effects.
Petrucci Music Library A wiki-based repository of musical scores available in the public domain. Please see their Policy Page.
Public Domain Project Historic media files for free use. Please see their page on terms of use.
Wikimedia Commons (Sounds) A repository of public domain and freely licensed sounds (also contains images and videos).  Please see their Terms of Use.
YouTube Audio Library A collection of free downloadable music for use in video or audio projects. Please see their information page.

 

Text resources


Books

Journal search engines

Open access journals - science

Open access journals - social science and humanities

Research (theses, dissertations, conference papers, etc.)


Books

Source  Comments
BC Open Textbook Project Freely available open textbooks for courses in arts, sciences, humanities and business, supported by the BC government.
Biodiversity Heritage Library The Biodiversity Heritage Library improves research methodology by collaboratively making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community.
Google Books Provides full-text access to books that are out of copyright, as well as previews of in-copyright, in-print books.
Hathi Trust A digital library that contains over 3,000,000 volumes of Public Domain works - use the "full view" limiter to access the Public Domain works.
Internet Archive Access to downloadable video, audio, text & multimedia in the public domain. It hosts one of the largest collections of freely available digital content on the Web and includes digitized print books, audio files, moving images and, by means of the Wayback Machine, cached copies of websites. Not all the content is in the Public Domain and please note that the Internet Archive's terms limit use to "scholarship and research purposes only." The copyright status for most content is found in the description menu and Creative Commons licensed materials are also clearly identified with the CC logo appearing under the file links
LibriVox LibriVox enlists volunteers to record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back into the public domain. An open source, public domain project.
OpenStax OpenStax free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of courses.
Project Gutenberg Access to approximately 40,000 full-text public domain books. Enjoy!
Project Gutenberg Canada The Canadian version of Project Gutenberg has its own website and collection with more Canadian content than is available at Project Gutenberg, as well as other content which is in the public domain in Canada.
Project Runeberg A volunteer project to create free electronic editions of classic Scandinavian literature.
Wikipedia Public Domain Sources (by Subject) This “helpful guide to public-domain resources” lists hundreds of public domain resources (other websites) from around the web, organized by subject. Definitely worth a look.

Journal search engines

Source  Comments
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) An extensive directory of scholarly open access journals from around the world.
Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE) One of the world's largest search engines for academic open access web resources, including open access institutional repositories.
OAlster A union catalog of millions of records from Open Access resources.
Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) A directory of repositories worldwide that house open access research materials.
HighWire Press Search full-text articles in science, medicine, special education and occupational therapy.

Open access journals - science

Source  Comments
arXiv.org Contains e-prints in physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance and statistics.
BioMed Central Search open-access bio-medicine journals.
Free Medical Journals Provides links to dozens of open access medical journals.
Public Library of Science (PLoS) Publishes a range of open access science journals and other scientific literature. Subject areas include biology, medicine, clinical trials and genetics
PubMed Central (PMC) Open-Access Subset Search within journals marked with the OA symbol in the "Free Access" column for freely available articles

Open access journals - social science and humanities

Source  Comments
Social Science Research Network (SSRN) Provides access to abstracts, scholarly working papers and forthcoming papers, and full-text articles in the social sciences.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy An openly available online encyclopedia of philosophy, that is written and maintained by experts in the field and refereed by an editorial board.
Synergies: Canada's SSH Research Infrastructure Indexes research results in social sciences and humanities published in Canada.

Research (theses, dissertations, conference papers, etc.)

Source  Comments
Directory of Open Access Repositories A directory of repositories worldwide that house open access research materials including journal articles, pre-prints, archival documents, conference papers and proceedings.
OAlster A catalogue of open access resources from repositories around the world.

Sheet music resources


Sheet music

Works by individual composers

Choral resources


Sheet music

Source  Comments

Art Song Central

This website is designed to be a centralized resource for the voice student or teacher to find public domain sheet music, as well as other supporting materials. More copyright information for this site can be found here.

Choral Public Domain Library

The Choral Public Domain Library (CPDL), is an Internet-based free sheet music website which specializes in choral music. Please see the listing of all pages on CPDL which outline copyright information.
Early Music Online Early Music Online has digitized over 320 volumes of 16th-century anthologies of printed music, from holdings at the British Library. These digitized volumes contain approximately 10,000 musical compositions, which have been individually indexed. Note the material is made available for non-commercial use under Open Education User License 1.0, so the material cannot be used for commercial purposes.
Harvard College Library Digital Scores & Libretti The Harvard College Library Digital Scores & Libretti database provides access to first and early editions and manuscript copies from the 18th to early 19th century.  The collection includes works by JS Bach and members of the Bach family, Mozart, Schubert and more; multiple versions of 19th century opera scores; seminal works of musical modernism; and music of the Second Viennese School. Please see the Harvard Library E-Resources: Copyright and Licensing Restrictions.
Hathi Trust A digital library that contains over 3,000,000 volumes of Public Domain works - use the "full view" limiter to access the Public Domain works. Please see their Copyright Page.

Historic American Sheet Music

The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University holds a significant collection of 19th and early 20th century American sheet music. The Historic American Sheet Music Project provides access to digital images of 3042 pieces from the collection, published in the United States between 1850 and 1920. Please see their User Information Page.
International Music Score Library Project International Music Score Library is an online database of musical scores and recordings. All content is in the public domain in Canada or the US. The site includes a "copyright made simple" page that contributors must read before adding content to the portal. Please see their Policy Page.
Internet Archive  Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, and more. Please see their Terms of Use.
Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music at the Milton S. Eisenhower Library This collection contains more than 29,000 pieces of American popular music spanning the years 1780 to 1980. Please click here for copyright information.
Library of Congress Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, ca. 1870 to 1885 The Library for Congress contains historical sheet music registered for copyright between 1820 and 1885, with more than 62,000 to choose from. Please see their Rights and Access Page.
Music Treasures Consortium The Music Treasures Consortium provides online access to the world's most valued music manuscripts and print materials, held at the most renowned music archives. More copyright information for this site can be found here.
Musopen - Free Public Domain Classical Music An online music library of public domain music. Please see their Terms of Use.
Mutopia Project The Mutopia Project provides access to public domain scores typeset using LilyPond. Please view their Licensing Details for more information.
ScorSer This is a search engine for downloadable .Pdf scores. You are responsible for determining copyright compliance as this is an aggregator, just like searching for works on Google.
Sibley Music Library Digital Scores Public domain music scores and books digitized by Sibley Music Library, Eastman School of Music.  This project is part of the institutional repository developed and hosted by the River Campus Libraries. Please see their Copyright and Fair Use page for more information.
Sheet Music Consortium The Sheet Music Consortium is a group of libraries working toward the goal of building an open collection of digitized sheet music and is hosted by the UCLA Digital Library Program and supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Please see their Privacy and Terms of Use for more information.
Sheet Music from Canada's Past

This site is a source of sheet music published in Canada before 1921, selected from the Sheet Music Collection at Library and Archives Canada.

The Sheet Music Collection includes over 20,000 patriotic and parlour songs, piano pieces, sacred music and novelty numbers, some dating back to the 1700s. Besides the expected Canadian imprints, it includes music by Canadians or about Canada published anywhere in the world. Many of the cover illustrations are of particular interest. 

Please see their Terms and Conditions.

VARIATIONS VARIATIONS is an online score prototype project from Indiana University.  It was last updated in 2005, but contains selected digitized public domain scores. Please see the Indiana University Policies on Intellectual Property for more information.
Wikimedia Commons (Sheet Music) A repository of public domain and freely licensed images and videos. ext is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.

Works by individual composers

Source  Comments
Arriaga The Bilbao Municipal Library Network is open to everyone, and its services provide access to information, culture and knowledge for free. Please see their Legal Warning page for more information.
Chopin Early Editions The Chopin collection at the University of Chicago Library includes over 400 first and early printed editions of musical compositions by Frédéric Chopin, maintained in the Special Collections Research Center. Please see their Rights and Permissions page for more information.
Beethoven Since 1997 the Munich Digitization Centre brings the rich holdings of the Bavarian State Library (BSB) to the Internet. Please see their Policies.
Chopin Variorum Edition The Online Chopin Variorum Edition provides digital images of the manuscripts and first editions of select works by the Polish composer Fryderyk Chopin. Please see their Rights page for more information.
Handel Since 1997 the Munich Digitization Centre brings the rich holdings of the Bavarian State Library (BSB) to the Internet. Please see their Policies.
Liszt Since 1997 the Munich Digitization Centre brings the rich holdings of the Bavarian State Library (BSB) to the Internet. Please see their Policies.
Lully The UNT Music Library's Jean-Baptiste Lully Collection includes almost thirty rare seventeenth- and eighteenth-century scores of operas, ballets, and compilations by the seventeenth-century French composer Jean-Baptiste Lully and his sons. Please see their Terms of Use.
Mendelssohn Since 1997 the Munich Digitization Centre brings the rich holdings of the Bavarian State Library (BSB) to the Internet. Please see their Policies.
Mozart The DME provides world wide access to the complete works of Wolfgang Amadé Mozart (1756–1791) in digital form via the internet for study and performance purposes. 
Nielsen Music scores of all Carl Nielsen's works are available for free download. Please see their Copyright and use of Copies page.
Schubert Since 1997 the Munich Digitization Centre brings the rich holdings of the Bavarian State Library (BSB) to the Internet. Please see their Policies.
Schumann Since 1997 the Munich Digitization Centre brings the rich holdings of the Bavarian State Library (BSB) to the Internet. Please see their Policies.

Choral resources

Source  Comments
ChoralWiki - Choral Public Domain Library CPDL was founded in December 1998, ported to ChoralWiki in August 2005,
and incorporated in May 2010 as a U.S.A. 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization.
Here you will find free choral/vocal scores, texts, translations, and other useful information. Please see their copyright rules for more information. 
American Choral Music, 1870 - 1923 American Choral Music, a collaboration of the the Library of Congress and the American Choral Directors Association, provides access to significant choral music in the public domain by the leading American composers of the time. Please see their copyright and restrictions page for more information.
ChoralNet ChoralNet is a professional networking site for the global online choral community. There are forums, choral organizations, choirs, resources, and the latest news of interest to the choral world. Please see their Terms of Use page for more information.

Makerspace resources

Source  Comments
Adafruit Learning System This site is a collection of tutorials and project ideas for working with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Lilypad, circuits, 3D printing, and more.
Bld3r.com Shows results from all the object repositories from its site and serves as a place to upload your own designs.
Cubeecraft A collection of paper craft patterns of various types that can be printed for folding.
Cubehero.com A spot to share and locate designs.
Instructables.com Instructables is the place to find project instructions to make all sorts of things. If something can be made, there is probably a video here on how to make it. You can also post your own projects here.
Makerspaces.com Features 60+ makerspace project ideas of every level, from simple to complex. Additionally, you can download a free PDF listing 100 suggested materials and supplies for your makerspace.
Makezine A magazine for makerspace enthusiasts that also provides free project ideas. 
NIH 3D Print Exchange Provides access to a community-contributed database of bioscientific 3D-Pintable files.
Raspberry Pi Provides projects and support to use with Raspberry Pi.
Thingiverse A repository of 3D designes that are open for anyone to modify or print using a 3D printer.
Yeggi.com A search engine for 3D designs.
Yobi3D A search engine for 3D objects that displays the results as 3D previews.
YouMagine.com A spot to share and locate designs.

Legal notice

Legal Notice: The advice, information, and opinions on this LibGuide are not intended to constitute nor do they replace legal advice and they do not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult with a lawyer for legal matters.

Contact

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Alana Zanbilowicz
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