Skip to main content

Copyright Essentials

An introduction to copyright issues for the NMSU community. This guide does NOT supply legal advice nor is it intended to replace the advice of legal counsel.

Open Source/Open Access Resources

Where can you find materials that you may use, re-use, and/or share without violating copyright? A growing number of open source or open access resources are available. Many of these sites--and especially Creative Commons--also offer ways for you to contribute your own works to the community.

Film in the Public Domain

Looking for film clips or even complete feature films that are in the public domain? These are works that you can watch or even use in your own remixes.

Public Domain

A work is considered to be in the public domain if it is not protected by copyright law. Typically, works in the public domain are free for the public to use in any way that they wish. A work may be in  the public domain for a number of reasons, including:  

  • the copyright protection term on the work has expired
  • the copyright protection for the work was never acquired or was lost
  • the work is a U.S. government work. Note that state and local government works are not necessarily in the public domain, nor are works that have been created by agencies with which the federal government has contracted.

Copyright protection terms have changed over time so it can prove challenging to determine when a U.S. work falls into the public domain.