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Queen's University Library



  1. Getting Copyright Permission
  2. The Public Domain and the Creative Commons

Getting Copyright Permission

How do I get permission to use a copyrighted work?

New: The Copyright Advisory Office is now providing a Copyright Clearance service where we will request and process permission for your classes. Use this service for any copyrighted material that you would like to digitize and post on your course webpage. 

The Public Domain and the Creative Commons

Is everything covered under Copyright?

Not everything. There are a wide variety of works that are in the Public Domain available freely on the Internet. 

The Public Domain

Works that are not protected because their term of protection has expired (generally fifty years after the death of the author in Canada, no matter where they resided or published their work), or because they were published without intention of claiming copyright, are in the public domain.

Works in the public domain can be used by anyone without liability for infringement.

Finding out if a work is in the public domain

The following flowchart was prepared by Creative Commons Canada in 2008 to help in determining if a work is in the public domain.

Canadian Public Domain Flowchart

 Open Resources
Places to find Public Domain or Open/Creative Commons resources

Creative Commons

The Creative Commons is a non-profit corporation that provides free licences for individuals who want to license their work in a way that allows for the work to be shared, remixed and/or used commercially.

Creative Commons Resources

Creative Commons Licences are also often used to specify usage rights for works published in Open Access Journals. Open Access is a movement where scholarly journals are published free of charge on the internet. For more information related to Open Access at Queen's, visit the Open Access section of the Library Scholarly Communication page.

Resources for finding public domain and Creative Commons licensed works

The following links include videos, presentations and resources related to a variety of different formats like videos, images and music:


Last Updated: 09 September 2015

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