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Copyright: Where to Find Alternative Resources

This guide provides information (not legal advice) to support NWC community decision-making in the use of copyright protected material in research, learning, and teaching.

Purpose of Guide and Disclaimer

This guide intends to refer NWC community users to accurate information. However, information received from the NWC Library or the NWC Copyright Librarian is neither legal advice/opinion nor legal counsel to the college or any members of the NWC community. Please contact the NWC Office of General Counsel or NWC Staff Judge Advocate's Office for NWC-related legal advice and interpretation of the law, or personal counsel for personal legal advice. The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by NWC of sites or the information, products, or services contained therein, nor does NWC exercise editorial control over the information found at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this guide. U.S. copyright law is subject to change.

Where to Find Alternative Resources

Search for alternative resources through the library's Primo platform.

NWC authorized users of library-licensed resources must follow each platform's contractual terms of use. For more details on NWC Library license terms of use, please see the Using Materials- Library-Licensed page.


Streaming Films for NWC Courses

The collection of streaming films subscribed to by the NWC may vary by academic year. Click the links below to see if we have a specific title available or to request the library acquire a specific title. Each platform has different user permissions and restrictions, so please review before using one of their films. For more details and licensing information, please visit the Using Materials: Film page

IMPORTANT: This is not a definitive guide to such materials. Before using a work, always review the terms of use for the source you are using as well as the copyright status of each individual item you would like to use. Some collections include a mixture of public domain, openly licensed, and other copyrighted material. Some sites may contain third party postings or require the creation of an account. Please also see the Permissions page for more information.

Please keep in mind for all types of copyright protected works, there are no bright-line rules that provide a safe harbor from copyright infringement.


Search for alternative resources through the library's Primo platform.

Resources:

  • BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine): Search engine for academic open access web resources.
  • CORE (COnnecting REpositories) aims to facilitate free access to scholarly publications distributed across many systems. CORE provides access to millions of scholarly articles aggregated from many open access repositories.
  • Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) serves as a portal to the openly available, digitized contents of America’s libraries, archives, and museums. It indexes materials in all formats.
  • Directory of open access books (doab)- "DOAB is a community-driven discovery service that indexes and provides access to scholarly, peer-reviewed open access books and helps users to find trusted open access book publishers. All DOAB services are free of charge and all data is freely available."
  • DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals): "Online directory that indexes and provides access to quality open access, peer-reviewed journals."
  • Europeana: Digital archive of over two million images, texts, sounds, and videos from libraries, museums, and archives across Europe.
  • Google Books: Search and preview millions of books from libraries and publishers worldwide using Google Book Search. The full text of titles in the public domain may be viewed online and downloaded.
  • Google Scholar: One of Google's specialized search tools, Google Scholar focuses primarily on information from scholarly and peer-reviewed sources. 
  • HathiTrust is a partnership of academic & research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world. The full text of books in the public domain may be viewed online and downloaded. The text of all titles may be searched.
  • Internet Archive Ebook and Texts Archive: "contains a wide range of fiction, popular books, children's books, historical texts and academic books. The collection is open to the community for the contribution of any type of text, many licensed using Creative Commons licenses."
  • Library of Congress American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. Most material is not protected by copyright.
  • Media History Digital Library: Collection of public domain classic media periodicals.
  • MERLOT: A collection of course materials and learning aids on many different subjects. The MERLOT advanced search allows users to search by Creative Commons license terms.
  • The New York Public Library Digital Collections: Digital collections include high resolution texts and manuscripts with no known copyright restrictions. Rights statement included for individual items.
  • OAIster is a union catalog of millions of records representing open access resources from collections worldwide.
  • OAPEN (Online library of open access books): "Freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of Humanities and Social Sciences... (OAPEN) work(s) with publishers to build a quality-controlled collection of open access books and provide services for publishers, libraries, and research funders in the areas of hosting, deposit, quality assurance, dissemination, and digital preservation."
  • OpenAIRE: Search publications and datasets from open access repositories and journals.
  • OpenDOAR Search: This service lets you search the contents of the repositories listed in OpenDOAR, an authoritative directory of academic open access repositories, for freely available academic research information. Full text is available for most results. Much of the content searched is licensed under a Creative Commons license or another public license.
  • Open Library, run by the Internet Archive, is an interface to published books in the public domain that are available for download in multiple formats. By registering on the site, additional eBooks still in copyright may be borrowed by one person at a time for a two week period.
  • OpenStax: A part of Rice University that publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, openly licensed college textbooks that are absolutely free online and low cost in print.
  • Project Gutenberg: Full text editions of literature and reference sources available in the public domain.
  • PubMed Central: "Free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine."
  • Science.gov " searches over 60 databases and over 2,200 scientific websites to provide users with access to more than 200 million pages of authoritative federal science information including research and development results."
  • UPENN's Online Book Page: "Listing over 3 million free books on the Web."

Adapted from URI Libraries: licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 license

IMPORTANT: This is not a definitive guide to such materials. Before using a work, always review the terms of use for the source you are using as well as the copyright status of each individual item you would like to use. Some collections include a mixture of public domain, openly licensed, and other copyrighted material. Some sites may contain third party postings or require the creation of an account. Please also see the Permissions page for more information.

Please keep in mind for all types of copyright protected works, there are no bright-line rules that provide a safe harbor from copyright infringement.


NWC Resources:

Guides (not the law):

Resources:

  • C-SPAN Video Library: More than 270,000 hours of content from C-SPAN.
  • Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) serves as a portal to the openly available, digitized contents of America’s libraries, archives, and museums. It indexes materials in all formats.
  • Documentary Heaven: Browse documentaries by category.
  • Europeana: Digital archive of over two million images, texts, sounds, and videos from libraries, museums, and archives across Europe.
  • Folkstreams: Showcases documentary films on American traditional cultures.
  • IMDb.com List of Films in the Public Domain in the United States: List created by IMDb.com user olicool10 of "films that certain cited sources believe are in the public domain in the United States." An addition to the list is available here
  • Internet Archive's Moving Image Archive: Online library of free movies, films, and videos. Contains over a million digital movies uploaded by Archive users. These include classic full-length films, news broadcasts, cultural and academic films, commercials, cartoons, and concerts. These videos are in the public domain or are available with Creative Commons reuse rights.
  • Library of Congress Digital Collections provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. Most material is not protected by copyright. Several hundred early motion pictures available.
  • Moving Image Research Center at the Library of Congress provides a number of collections of early motion pictures, many of which are in the public domain.
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Video Gallery Public domain videos and photos. See NASA terms of use page.
  • National Film Board of Canada: Free for personal use.
  • The New York Public Library Digital Collections Digital collections includes high resolution streaming videos with no known copyright restrictions. Rights statement included for individual items.
  • The Open Video Project: The purpose of the Open Video Project is to collect and make available a repository of digitized video content for the digital video, multimedia retrieval, digital library, and other research communities. "The Open Video repository provides video clips from a variety of sources, especially various video programs obtained from U.S. government agencies such as the U.S. Records and Archives Administration and NASA. Although the government agency videos were produced with public funds and are freely available from the Archives, no copyright clearance has been obtained for audio or video elements in these productions. We encourage researchers to use the data under fair use for research purposes."
  • PBS Video: Public Site and GBH Openvault: Offers a wide-variety of its films, documentaries and TV shows for streaming online.
  • TED: Technology, Entertainment, Design: Talks and performances from TED and partners. Videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so please follow those parameters when sharing or reposting. Subject categories include technology, business, science, and global issues.
  • USA.gov YouTube channel: The official YouTube channel of the U.S. Government, linking to videos across government. Most content produced by the government falls in the public domain.
  • Vimeo has a large collection of videos licensed under one of the Creative Commons licenses or the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication. Note that many videos on Vimeo are under copyright and have not been licensed under any open license.
  • Watchdocumentaries.com: Wide variety of documentaries by independent film makers from around the world. Site contains third party postings.
  • YouTube: After performing a search for video content, you can "filter" by Creative Commons license to find content with reuse rights. Note that many videos on YouTube are under copyright and have not been licensed under any open license. If it does not seem like a legal source of the work, do not use it. For more information on YouTube's policies, visit their Copyright and rights management page.

Adapted from URI Libraries: licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 license

IMPORTANT: This is not a definitive guide to such materials. Before using a work, always review the terms of use for the source you are using as well as the copyright status of each individual item you would like to use. Some collections include a mixture of public domain, openly licensed, and other copyrighted material. Some sites may contain third party postings or require the creation of an account. Please also see the Permissions page for more information.

Please keep in mind for all types of copyright protected works, there are no bright-line rules that provide a safe harbor from copyright infringement.


NWC Licensed-Resource

  • Britannica's ImageQuest is licensed by NWC for its Authorized Users and is a collection of over 3 million rights-cleared images from over 50 of the best collections in the world-- including Getty Images, National Portrait Gallery of London, and the National Geographic Society. The "rights-cleared" means that NWC authorized users may display, reproduce, print or download content only for personal and non-commercial use. NWC-authenticated teachers, scholars or students may copy reasonable portions of the content for lesson plans, interactive whiteboards, reports, dissertations, presentations, school newspapers and for similar nonprofit educational purposes to the extent permitted by applicable law. Any intellectual property notices like a copyright statement cannot be removed and attribution should be given. See their Terms of Use for more details.

Guides (not the law) and Tool:

Resources:

  • Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) serves as a portal to the openly available, digitized contents of America’s libraries, archives, and museums. It indexes materials in all formats.
  • Europeana: Digital archive of over two million images, texts, sounds, and videos from libraries, museums, and archives across Europe.
  • Flickr Advanced Search allows a search of Creative Commons-licensed content on Flickr. Note that many photographs on Flickr are under copyright and have not been licensed under any open license.
  • Getty's Open Content Program Digital images of works believed to be in the public domain in the U.S. from the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute's collections. Digital images are made available for free and without restriction. 
  • Google Advanced Image Search: Usage rights can be specified in the search criteria, allowing results to be limited to a variety of open licenses.
  • Google Arts and Culture is an online platform through which users can access high-resolution images of artworks housed in the initiative’s partner museums.
  • Library of Congress American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. Most material is not protected by copyright.
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Image Galleries Public domain photos. See NASA terms of use page.
  • National Gallery of Art: Collections include digital images of public domain works made available under the Gallery's open access policy.
  • New York Public Library Digital Gallery: Open access to images digitized from the The New York Public Library's vast collections, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs and more. Rights status is not provided for every item; images may be protected by copyright; please verify.
  • Pixabay: An online image-sharing service that focuses on images dedicated to the public domain under the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0).
  • Public Health Image Library (PHIL) Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Types of image categories/collections include influenza, natural disasters, environmental health, bioterrorism, health behaviors and more.
  • San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives on Flickr “These are digital images from the San Diego Air and Space Museum's Library and Archives, which houses over one million aviation related photos, slides and transparencies.”
  • SpaceX on Flickr “Official Flickr account for SpaceX, the future of space travel. SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches the world’s most advanced rockets and spacecraft.”
  • U.S. Government Photos and Images Search: Find government photos and images by topic for multiple federal agencies. Some photos are in the public domain or are U.S. government works which may be used without permission or fee. Other images may be protected by license or copyright; please verify.

Art Museums With Open Access Policies:

  • British Museum Copyright and Permissions: Under its copyright and permissions policy, the British Museum releases certain content on its website under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC-SA).
  • Brooklyn Museum Copyright Policy: Under its copyright policy, the Brooklyn Museum licenses images, in which it holds rights, under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art Terms of Use: Under its terms of use, the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art provides high resolution images of items from its collections that it believes to be in the public domain, for use free of charge and without restriction.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art Open Access Policy: Under its open access policy, the Metropolitan Museum of Art dedicates to the public domain the images of works it believes to be in the public domain.
  • National Gallery of Art Open Access Policy: Under its open access policy, the National Gallery of Art (U.S.) provides access to images of works it believes to be in the public domain and permits their use free of charge for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial.
  • Victoria & Albert Museum Terms of Use: Under its terms of use, the Victoria & Albert Museum permits users to make certain non-commercial uses of material from its website and from its online collections.
  • Walters Art Museum Policy on Digital Images of Collection Objects Usage: The Walters Art Museum has dedicated its images of its public domain artworks to the public domain using the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication.

Adapted from URI Libraries: licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 license

IMPORTANT: This is not a definitive guide to such materials. Before using a work, always review the terms of use for the source you are using as well as the copyright status of each individual item you would like to use. Some collections include a mixture of public domain, openly licensed, and other copyrighted material. Some sites may contain third party postings or require the creation of an account. Please also see the Permissions page for more information.

Please keep in mind for all types of copyright protected works, there are no bright-line rules that provide a safe harbor from copyright infringement.


Note:

  • As of 1 January 2022, approximately 400,000 sound recordings made before 1923 joined the public domain in the U.S. for the first time due to the Music Modernization Act (Copyright.gov). Going forward, every 1 January, another year of sound recordings will move into the public domain. 
  • Please see the U.S. Copyright Office's PDF "Musical Works, Sound Recordings & Copyright" and "What Musician's Should Know About Copyright" to learn more about the difference between a sound recording and a musical work.

Resources:

  • Bandcamp: An online platform for artists to distribute their music. Some sound recordings on Bandcamp are licensed under one of the Creative Commons licenses or the CC Public Domain Dedication.
  • ccMixter "ccMixter is a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want."
  • Community Audio: A service of the Internet Archive. Its website has thousands of user-contributed recordings that are licensed under one of the Creative Commons licenses.
  • Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) serves as a portal to the openly available, digitized contents of America’s libraries, archives, and museums. It indexes materials in all formats. Some material may still be in copyright; please verify.
  • Europeana: Digital archive of over two million images, texts, sounds, and videos from libraries, museums, and archives across Europe.
  • Free Music Archive "is an interactive library of high-quality, legal music downloads. Every mp3 you discover on The Free Music Archive is pre-cleared for certain types of uses that would otherwise be prohibited by copyright laws that were not designed for the digital era. These uses vary and are determined by the rightsholders themselves."
  • Internet Archive's Audio Archive "contains over two hundred thousand free digital 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."
  • Jamendo: A music streaming and hosting service. It features many albums and tracks that are licensed under one of the Creative Commons licenses.
  • The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection (John Hopkins University) includes public domain sheet music (scores).
  • Library of Congress American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. Most material is not protected by copyright.
  • LibriVox "volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the net. Our goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books."
  • Musopen: MP3 recordings of public domain music. “This project exists so that educational institutions and the general public can have free, unlimited access to all kinds of music that have expired copyrights.” Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and early 20th century works. The recordings on this site have been placed in the public domain, so there are no restrictions on what you may do with them.
  • The New York Public Library Digital Collections Digital collections includes high resolution sheet music with no known copyright restrictions. Rights statement included for individual items.
  • Project Gutenberg Audio Books provides human-read audio books in a number of languages. The bibliographic record for each book includes its copyright status. If the work is copyrighted, you may still download the file but your ability to re-use the file is limited.
  • Project Gutenberg Recorded Music: Music in the public domain.
  • SoundCloud: A social sound-sharing site which allows users to create and post their own audio files. Some files are licensed under one of the Creative Commons licenses.

Adapted from URI Libraries: licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 license