Photo by George

The Commons

Help us catalog the world’s public photo archives.

The Commons Help us catalog the world’s public photo archives.

About the Rights Statement

Participating institutions may have various reasons for determining that "no known copyright restrictions" exist, such as:

  1. The copyright is in the public domain because it has expired;
  2. The copyright was injected into the public domain for other reasons, such as failure to adhere to required formalities or conditions;
  3. The institution owns the copyright but is not interested in exercising control; or
  4. The institution has legal rights sufficient to authorize others to use the work without restrictions.

Copyrights on Photographs

Under "The Commons," cultural institutions that have reasonably concluded that a photograph is free of copyright restrictions are invited to share such photograph under their new usage guideline called "no known copyright restrictions."

Photographs can be difficult to analyze under copyright law, not only because laws around the world differ with respect to scope and duration of protection, but because the photographs themselves often lack credit lines, dates and other identifying information. Libraries, museums and other cultural institutions have a great deal of experience with photographs because they frequently collect, preserve, document and study them in accordance with their nonprofit missions. However, in many instances, a cultural institution will not be the rights holder under copyright law. Therefore, it can neither grant permission to others who wish to use a photograph nor provide a guarantee that the photograph is in the public domain.

BY ASSERTING "NO KNOWN COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS," PARTICIPATING INSTITUTIONS ARE SHARING THE BENEFIT OF THEIR RESEARCH WITHOUT PROVIDING AN EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED WARRANTY TO OTHERS WHO WOULD LIKE TO USE OR REPRODUCE THE PHOTOGRAPH. IF YOU MAKE USE OF A PHOTO FROM THE COMMONS, YOU ARE REMINDED TO CONDUCT AN INDEPENDENT ANALYSIS OF APPLICABLE LAW BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH A PARTICULAR NEW USE.

TO REVIEW THE EXPLICIT RIGHTS STATEMENT FOR ANY IMAGE, PLEASE CLICK ON THE RELEVANT LINK UNDER "PARTICIPATING INSTITUTIONS," OR ON THE "NO KNOWN COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS" LINK ASSOCIATED WITH THE IMAGE IN THE COMMONS.

Participating Institutions

Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office Commons

Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office Commons

The Finnish Museum of Photography

The Finnish Museum of Photography

Library Company of Philadelphia

Library Company of Philadelphia

Provincial Archives of Alberta

Provincial Archives of Alberta

Miami U. Libraries - Digital Collections

Miami U. Libraries - Digital Collections

The British Library

The British Library

Costică Acsinte Archive

Costică Acsinte Archive

Vancouver Public Library Historical Photographs

Vancouver Public Library Historical Photographs

National Library of Norway

National Library of Norway

Royal Australian Historical Society

Royal Australian Historical Society

DEXTRA Photo

DEXTRA Photo

California Historical Society Digital Collection

California Historical Society Digital Collection

Schlesinger Library, RIAS, Harvard University

Schlesinger Library, RIAS, Harvard University

National Museum of Denmark

National Museum of Denmark

Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland

Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland

National Library of Sweden

National Library of Sweden

National Archives of Estonia

National Archives of Estonia

Het Nieuwe Instituut - Architecture Collection

Het Nieuwe Instituut - Architecture Collection

Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Dundas Museum and Archives

Dundas Museum and Archives

UL Digital Library

UL Digital Library

Mennonite Church USA Archives

Mennonite Church USA Archives

Law Society of Upper Canada Archives

Law Society of Upper Canada Archives

State Records NSW

State Records NSW

Nova Scotia Archives

Nova Scotia Archives

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

Deseronto Archives

Deseronto Archives

Stockholm Transport Museum Commons

Stockholm Transport Museum Commons

National Library of Australia Commons

National Library of Australia Commons

Riksarkivet (National Archives of Norway)

Riksarkivet (National Archives of Norway)

The Royal Library, Denmark

The Royal Library, Denmark

Museum of Photographic Arts Collections

Museum of Photographic Arts Collections

National Library of Ireland on The Commons

National Library of Ireland on The Commons

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives

San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives

Museum of Hartlepool

Museum of Hartlepool

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Archives

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Archives

NASA on The Commons

NASA on The Commons

National Library of Scotland

National Library of Scotland

Ljósmyndasafn Reykjavíkur / Reykjavík Museum of

Ljósmyndasafn Reykjavíkur / Reykjavík Museum of

Keene and Cheshire County (NH) Historical Photos

Keene and Cheshire County (NH) Historical Photos

Fylkesarkivet i Sogn og Fjordane

Fylkesarkivet i Sogn og Fjordane

Cornell University Library

Cornell University Library

Australian National Maritime Museum on The Commons

Australian National Maritime Museum on The Commons

SMU Central University Libraries

SMU Central University Libraries

Texas State Archives

Texas State Archives

Center for Jewish History, NYC

Center for Jewish History, NYC

UA Archives | Upper Arlington History

UA Archives | Upper Arlington History

Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest

Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest

The National Archives UK

The National Archives UK

UW Digital Collections

UW Digital Collections

The U.S. National Archives

The U.S. National Archives

Bergen Public Library

Bergen Public Library

LSE Library

LSE Library

JWA Commons

JWA Commons

Galt Museum & Archives on The Commons

Galt Museum & Archives on The Commons

Getty Research Institute

Getty Research Institute

LlGC ~ NLW

LlGC ~ NLW

The Field Museum Library

The Field Museum Library

DC Public Library Commons

DC Public Library Commons

Swedish National Heritage Board

Swedish National Heritage Board

nha.library

nha.library

OSU Special Collections & Archives : Commons

OSU Special Collections & Archives : Commons

State Library and Archives of Florida

State Library and Archives of Florida

State Library of Queensland, Australia

State Library of Queensland, Australia

National Galleries of Scotland Commons

National Galleries of Scotland Commons

New York Public Library

New York Public Library

National Library NZ on The Commons

National Library NZ on The Commons

IWM Collections

IWM Collections

Australian War Memorial collection

Australian War Memorial collection

Nationaal Archief

Nationaal Archief

Musée McCord Museum

Musée McCord Museum

The Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia

State Library of New South Wales collection

State Library of New South Wales collection

National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum

National Media Museum

National Media Museum

Biblioteca de Arte-Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

Biblioteca de Arte-Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

George Eastman House

George Eastman House

bibliothequedetoulouse

bibliothequedetoulouse

Smithsonian Institution

Smithsonian Institution

Powerhouse Museum Collection

Powerhouse Museum Collection

The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress