Free to Use and Reuse: Making Public Domain and Rights-Clear Content Easier to Find

Famed jazz singer Billie Holiday with her pet boxer, Mister, in 1946. Photo by William P. Gottlieb. This digital image is just one example of the varied content on our website that is available for your free use.

One of our biggest challenges is letting you know about all of the content available at loc.gov. Another challenge we have is letting you know what you can do with it (in a nice way).

We are working on several fronts to improve the visibility of public domain and rights-clear content. We moved one step in that direction today with the launch of our Free to Use and Reuse page.

This page features themed sets of content (such as travel posters, presidential portraits, Civil War drawings) that are all free to use and reuse, meaning there are no known copyright restrictions associated with this content. In other words, you can do whatever you want with it.

When we redesigned the Library’s home page in late 2016 we began featuring free-to-use sets at the bottom of the page. Each set displayed on the home page is now available from our new Free to Use and Reuse page, and we’ll continue to add to this archive. The set featured on the home page now is a selection of photos with dogs. Scroll down for a few teasers.

Please note that these sets are just a small sample of the Library’s digital collections available for your free use. Our digital collections comprise millions of items, including books, newspapers, manuscripts, prints and photos, maps, musical scores, films, sound recordings and more. Whenever possible, each collection has its own rights statement, which you should consult for guidance on use.

I hope that the new Free to Use archive will be a springboard for discovering Library collections that you can use in your blog posts, Pinterest boards, documentary films, your next podcast, a slide show, or to decorate your laundry room.

Do you have a theme in mind for a future Free to Use set? Please comment on this post and let us know!

Frank Stanton and the “Prince of Princeton,” c. 1915–20

Jean and Charlotte Potter with dog, c. 1910–15

John Philip Sousa with Dogs, 1920s

Mrs. Malcolm Strauss and her prize-winning French bulldog, c. 1912

A man takes bandages from a dog’s kit during World War I, c. 1914–15

16 Comments

  1. Michelle Novak
    February 8, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Bravo!

    I love the online image collections and incorporate a lot of the images in my own personal research. Thank you!

  2. Karen Sullivan
    February 10, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    I love the images of people with their pets. Thanks!

  3. Michelle Rago
    February 12, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Michelle and Karen – Thank you for your comments!

  4. Cristina de Haro Ponce
    February 12, 2018 at 9:36 am

    As a teacher, a massive THANK YOU!!!

  5. Andrea Broadbent
    February 13, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Well done! LOC’s Free to Use and Reuse page goes a long way toward educating the public about the do’s and don’ts around using images.

  6. Michelle Rago
    February 13, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Thanks, Cristina! In case you don’t already know, we have a blog for teachers, //blogs.loc.gov/teachers/. (We hope you keep reading this one too though!)

  7. Michelle Rago
    February 13, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Thanks for the feedback, Michelle!

  8. Michelle Rago
    February 13, 2018 at 11:44 am

    So do I. Thank you, Karen!

  9. Michelle Rago
    February 13, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Thanks, Andrea!

  10. John Michael
    February 15, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Hurray!

    The Library of Congress does it again leading the pack in providing easy and quality access to its resources.

    The cover images of my two published books come from their vast collection along with many images inside the books all secured via LOC online services.

    Please keep up the great work!

    Sincerely,

    John Michael

  11. Michelle Rago
    February 15, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Thanks, John!

  12. Deborah
    February 15, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Thank you for free content information…

  13. Irina
    February 21, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    Hi!

    Thank you so much for your work! As I am still new to the digital archives of the US I just wanted to check if I could use images from this USE ReUSE set for non-commercial publishing in blog.

    I would deeply appreciate any guidance.

    Thank you!

  14. Michelle Rago
    February 22, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    Irina – All of the items in the Free to Use and Reuse sets (//www.loc.gov/free-to-use/) are exactly that, free to use and reuse, meaning there are no known copyright restrictions associated with the content. Enjoy!

  15. Lynn Grevr
    February 23, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    Thank you for this updated information and ability to use as we see fit collection! As a teacher, this is a gem!
    It would be great to see more about Science topics especially for the elementary age students….

    Thank you again

  16. Michelle Rago
    February 23, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Lynn – This is great feedback. Thank you!

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