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Public Domain/Royalty Free Multimedia: Home

Sources of photos, sound recordings and videos that to the best of our knowledge may be reused without payment to a copyright holder. Verify the status of specific works.


Sources of photos, sound recordings and videos that to the best of our knowledge may be reused without payment to a copyright holder in many circumstances. Verify the status of specific works.  Keep in mind: giving credit to the original creator is sometimes necessary, and is always a good idea.

This is a sampler of resources and not intended to be comprehensive. Suggestions will not be accepted for sites that do not principally feature Alaska themed audio or images OR which are not either public domain or royalty free. If you are not familiar with these terms, read the information box towards the bottom of this page.

Alaska Themed Multimedia Resources


Audio files

What is Public Domain and Royalty Free?

To the best of our knowledge, the sources listed here contain photos, sound recordings, and videos that may be reused without payment to a copyright holder. We do not guarantee this will be true of every individual item that you may find through the links below. In some cases a photo, audio clip or video will be available for non-commercial uses, but require payment or permission before it can be included in a product to be sold. Please make sure you check the terms of use section of the site you are visiting, as well as any use information with the specific item, before using a given piece of content.

The two types of materials you will find on this page are public domain materials and royalty-free materials:

Public Domain - Public Domain materials have no copyright. They might be public domain because their copyright has expired (most pre-1927 materials) or because they are statutorily exempted from copyright, like most, but not all material produced by federal agencies. 

Some post-1923 creators have explicitly dedicated their works to the public domain, waiving their rights under copyright law. An example of this can be found at the video The Access to Knowledge Treaty: What if WIPO Actually Worked For Us? A Digital Dialog Lecture with Cory Doctorow. You may do whatever you please with public domain materials and you do not have to pay for the usage of the work. Additional information about when an item becomes public domain can be found at Copyright at Cornell Libraries: Copyright Term and the Public Domain

You can find out the most recent additions to the Public Domain by visiting the Public Domain Day page maintained by Duke University. 

Royalty Free - Royalty Free materials are items where the creators have chosen to license a given photo, recording, or video, usually for either a one-time fee or free of charge. However, there are usually terms of use or license agreements that you must abide by for your use of the work to be legal. Please review the terms of use of such items before using.

One popular family of licenses for royalty free works is Creative Commons CC. There are several types of CC licenses – some allow you to use the work in any way as long as you give attribution to the creator. Others will only allow you to use the work “as is” with no alterations. Yet other licenses grant different rights depending on whether your work product is a commercial use (i.e. whether it is given away or sold). Please review a work’s CC license before using it. More information about Creative Commons licenses can be found at