Copyright Registration and Clearance


NewsNet is a free online newsletter published by the United States Copyright Office. It alerts us to hearings, new legislation, proposed changes, new publications, and the like. It also solicits comments on actions the office is taking.

Copyright Clearance Center

This Center is an easy first place to go to for obtaining copyright clearance since they work with many of the major publishing companies. They have a section specifically for academic copyright clearance: Campus Guide to Copyright.

Information About Copyright Law

Stanford Copyright and Fair Use

A very extensive compilation of copyright information, published by the Stanford University Libraries. They have a section that keeps abreast of current changes or additions to copyright law: Current Legislation and Issues

The Center for Internet and Society

The Center for Internet and Society (CIS) is a public interest technology law and policy program at Stanford Law School which studies the interaction of new technologies and the law. They have especially good resources on fair use.

Chilling Effects

Chilling Effects is a joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, University of Maine, George Washington School of Law, and Santa Clara University School of Law clinics. They try to help users understand the protections that the First Amendment and intellectual property laws give to their online activities.

In addition to their extensive Copyright FAQ, they have a searchable database of resources on a wide array of topics such as the DMCA, cease and desist notices, linking, and anonymity.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

The EFF confronts cutting-edge issues concerning free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights in the realm of information technology.

Information about File sharing and Downloading Files: EDUCAUSE has prepared resources to help individuals be informed about the issues surrounding the downloading and sharing of copyrighted material.

Copyright Alternatives and the Public Domain


“Copyleft” is the practice of using copyright law to remove restrictions on distributing copies and modified versions of a work, and requiring that the same freedoms be preserved in modified versions.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from “All Rights Reserved” to “Some Rights Reserved.” You can use most Creative Commons works without having to ask for permission, as long as you follow the licensing guidelines specified by the creator.

Where to Find Free Culture

Flickr: Creative Commons

Flickr is a commercial photo-sharing website that makes it easy for users to automatically place all their images under Creative Commons licenses. By searching for Creative Commons licensed images on Flickr, you can find millions of “some rights reserved” photos.

OER Commons

Open Education Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are freely available online for everyone to use, whether you are an instructor, student, or self-learner. Examples of OER include full courses, course modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab and classroom activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations, and many more resources contained in digital media collections from around the world.

OER Commons is the first comprehensive open learning network where teachers and professors (from pre-K to graduate school) can access their colleagues’ course materials, share their own, and collaborate on affecting today’s classrooms.


All of Wikipedia is published under the GNU Free Documentation License. This “copyleft” license means that all the content in Wikipedia is freely available for reuse, as long as the resulting works are also released under the same license.

Wikipedia entries which list public domain sources:

The Wikimedia Foundation (hosts of the Wikipedia Project) is dedicated to freely available culture, and they have many compilations of free cultural resources:

Appropriate Use of Licensed Electronic Resources: Rights and Responsibilities