Public Domain Material: Images, Audio, Scores & Books

Copyright Free Audio, Images, Scores and Text


Bing Images

CC Search  
"Creative Commons provides free, easy-to-use copyright licenses to make a simple and standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work–on conditions of your choice." See their policies page for more information.

Google Images

 Over 3,000 public domain U.S. government films in their entirety.  Includes nuclear test footage, NASA films, public service announcements for health and hygiene, cold war films, etc. Films may downloaded free of charge.


Internet Archive Book Images: "An archive of 2.6 million public domain images, all extracted from books, magazines and newspapers published over a 500 year period."

Library of Congress Photos on Flickr:
About 3,000 photographs (in color and black and white) and posters from governmental sources such as the Library of Congress, the FBI, National Archives and Department of Defense. Includes portraits of politicians, celebrities, protests, demonstrations, and news shots from around the world. No known copyright exists for the photos included within the collection

LibreStock is a metasearch engine that searches over 40 CC0 image websites.metasearch engine that searches over 40 CC0 image websites. Contains over 60,781 high quality do-what-ever-you-want stock photos.

"On Pixabay you may find and share images free of copyrights. All pictures are released under Creative Commons CC0 into the public domain.
You can copy, modify, distribute, and use the images, even for commercial purposes, all without asking for permission or giving credits to the artist. However, depicted content may still be protected by trademarks, publicity or privacy rights." 
Take note:
"Those images marked with the Shutterstock logo are shown to finance Pixabay and to provide a choice of professional photos."

Over 300,000 free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos brought to you by the world’s most generous community of photographers.

Wellcome Images: Covers"2000 years of human culture". Images on this site are freely available for download for personal, academic teaching or study use, under one of two Creative Commons licences.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to everyone, in their own language 
Unlike traditional media repositories, Wikimedia Commons is free. Everyone is allowed to copy, use and modify any files here freely as long as they follow the terms specified by the author; this often means crediting the source and author(s) appropriately and releasing copies/improvements under the same freedom to others. The license conditions of each individual media file can be found on their description page. The Wikimedia Commons database itself and the texts in it are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 

Audio (Music & Sound Effects)

  • Royalty Free Music Creative Commons License music available. Must credit Bensounds and link to website.
  • dig.ccmixter: Find theme music for your film or video, or to remix or reuse.
  • Freesound: The Freesound Project aims to create a huge collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps, ... released under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus License. The Freesound Project provides new and interesting ways of accessing these samples, allowing users to  browse the sounds in new ways using keywords, a "sounds-like" type of browsing and more , up and download sounds to and from the database, under the same creative commons license and interact with fellow sound-artists! We also aim to create an open database of sounds that can also be used for scientific research.
  • It is legal to download, sample and share all the music found on this website.
  • The sounds are licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. If you want to distribute the sounds yourself you must retain the readme in the zip files. If you use the sounds in a movie please credit FXhome and the sound effect author.
  • Incompetech: Royalty free music
  • Looperman: A free pro audio community for musicians, film and video producers, djs and multi media designers. Members can upload and download royalty free music loops, acapellas and vocals, beats and samples to use in any music software such as steinberg cubase, propellerheads reason, sony acid pro, fruity loops studio, Magix, ableton live, apple garageband etc or macromedia flash projects, video game design or movie soundtracks. All files have mp3 previews .
  • Moby Gratis Yes, THAT Moby. This site is a resource for independent and non-profit filmmakers, film students, and anyone in need of free music for their independent, non-profit film, video, or short.
    Moby has made a selection of over 150 tracks from his huge catalog of music available to licence for free, via a simple online application system.
    To begin just create a new account, browse the catalog and fill in your application for the tracks you would like to use. You should receive a response to your application within 24 hours.
    Once you have finished your film, you can share it with the mobygratis community by uploading to YouTube or Vimeo and adding it here. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo and Google+
  • Public Domain 2ten:  Features a wide variety of music genres, mostly older, for users to download
  • Partners In Rhyme: Royalty Free Music & Sound Effects  This site enables the user to download public domain sound effects free of charge. The site has sound effects listed under categories such as animals, domestic, paper, doors etc.


YouTube Creative Commons
Log in to Youtube with your Gmail account, then select CC (creative commons), and enter your keywords to search for videos.

Vimeo Creative Commons
Browse the Creative Commons licensed videos on Vimeo. Learn about what you can and can't do with other people’s videos on Vimeo to help you share, rework and reuse legally.


IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library: Free Public Domain Sheet Music

Free sheet music, royalty free music, and public domain resources.

Mutopia Project All of the music on Mutopia may be freely downloaded, printed, copied, distributed, modified, performed and recorded. 
Hathi Trust
Many works in our collection are protected by copyright law, so we cannot ordinarily publicly display large portions of those protected works unless we have permission from the copyright holder. Where we have the right to show page images of works, we will make every effort to do so. 

 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

See also Kris Shanton's Music Scores Online Guide

Contact Us

picture of Jennifer Richards
Fine Arts Librarian
(607) 274-1199

What is Public Domain?

Public Domain means that the material is no longer under copyright and can be used freely by the public.  Please note that many of the websites listed here make a distinction between public domain and flexible copyright.  Many newer websites are posting material under a Creative Commons License, and may carry restrictions such as non-commercial use only, or require a note of attribution.
For a guide about what constitutes public domain, see Cornell's Public Domain page

Who Owns What?

How do you find who owns the copyright to a work?  Here are a few websites to check.  Remember, researching copyright can be time consuming. And if you don't find the copyright owner there is no guarantee that the material is copyright-free.

Citing Images

Whether you're writing a paper, preparing a presentation, or creating a web page, you should cite image information to the best of your ability. Here are a few sample websites which show different styles for image citation:
Citing vs. Attribution (from University of California, Irvine)
    Attribution Best Practices
Citing Images:  (Cornell University Libraries)