Skip to Main Content Caldwell University Jennings Library Banner

Open Educational Resources (OER): Creative Commons and Public Domain

Creative Commons and Public Domain

Items that are freely available and without the traditional copyright restrictions usually have either a Creative Commons License or are in the public domain.  Most OER materials have some form of a Creative Commons License.

Creative Commons Licenses

Creative Commons licenses can allow for the reusing and remixing of content. It is much more open compared to the traditional copyright licenses but not as open as public domain works. 

There are a variety of Creative Commons Licenses that can be used. Click on the logos below to learn more about each license.

Public Domain

Works in the public domain are complete free of any restrictions on use.

"As a general rule, most works enter the public domain because of old age. This includes any work published in the United States before 1923 or works published before 1964 for which copyrights were not renewed. (Renewal was a requirement for works published before 1978.) A smaller group of works fell into the public domain because they were published without a copyright notice, which was necessary for works published in the United States before March 1, 1989. Some works are in the public domain because the owner has indicated a desire to give them to the public without copyright protection"


Stim, Rich. The Public Domain Standford University Libraries:

Open Access

For more information on Open Access, see the library's guide below: