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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

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