Public Domain Free-for-All

Images worth eyeballing from the growing universe of the Public Domain (PD) — cultural works that were never copyrighted, have permissive copyrights, or have passed out of copyright. Includes both (1) Restorations and (2) ‘RE-creations’ (derivative manipulations of PD elements with personal artistic intent).


  1. RE-creations: Mash-Ups, Collages, Combinations, Mutations, etc. Entirely new and separate works of art created from works in the public domain. Anything goes.
  2. Restorations: I do my level-best to channel the original creator's intent -- if that artist had had Photoshop and the Internet available. (Recently de-emphasized, to concentrate on Re-creations, above, but I still update it occasionally.)

New (1/17/2013) development, via the Public Domain online mailing list:

"The French Ministry of Culture announced yesterday the signing of two agreements between the Bibliotheque nationale de France (BnF) and private firms for the scanning of documents belonging (either partially or as a whole) to the public domain, including old books and over 200,000 sound recordings.

These partnerships include a 10-year exclusive agreement allowing for these private firms to commercialize the digitized documents into their database - before they will be made available online on the digital library of the BnF (Gallica)."

Public Domain (PD) Day: January 1, 2013

In Europe, Public Domain Day (January 1) was a day of celebration, marking the entry of many works of art and literature (including Alphonse Mucha, left) into the public domain. Unfortunately, in the United States, where a few media companies control the nation's news outlets and lawmakers, the laws on intellectual content have been manipulated so that very few works entered into the public domain in the U.S. this year. American copyright extensions do not benefit artists and creators, only the sleazy content megacorporations like Disney, Comcast, Viacom, etc. The battle over the world's cultural heritage has intensified recently, with the death of Open Information activist Aaron Swartz and the recent Supreme Court opinion in Golan v. Holder, which allows works to be removed from the public domain. Read all about it here and here.