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Copyright & Music: Public Domain

Public Domain

What is "public domain?"

Works that fall into public domain can be used without obtaining permission because they are no longer protected by intellectual property laws (copyright, trademark, or patent laws).

Creative Commons

Creative Commons supports open access and their Mission Statement reads as follows:

Creative Commons develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.

You can use the CC search tool to help you identify materials licensed under Creative Commons and those in the public domain:

     CC Search

Public Domain Day 2021


January 1, 2021 is Public Domain Day in the US. Works from 1925 have now entered the public domain.

For more information about new releases into public domain, information about future public domain days, and the "Sonny Bono extension," see

Information about Public Domain

Stanford University

Public Domain Information Project 
     Public Domain Info (music copyright, public domain, and lists of public domain sheet music)

American Library Association
     "Is this material still under copyright?"  Digital Copyright Slider

     Public Domain Calculator

Books at the Lucille Caudill Little Fine Arts Library

Links to Public Domain Music Sites