Office of Research Copyright Web Resources - Office of Research

Copyright Web Resources

There are many Internet resources to help you learn about and navigate through the world of copyright. However, caveat emptor! Some are misleading or outright wrong. Below are online sources you may find helpful. Be aware that sites outside of the University of California may not be accurate for UC Davis.

Sources of Ready- or Easy-to-license Copyright-protected Works

Note: Inclusion here is informational, not an endorsement. Help us expand this list! Send sites which might be of interest to the UC Davis community to

Audiovisual Works


  • ASCAP, BMI and SESAC represent many composers/songwriters of published music. UC Davis has year-to-year licenses for performances which are educational uses of their catalogs.
  • Associated Production Music (APM) licenses the Davis campus year-to-year for use of music in audio-video productions. For information as to the current status of the license, contact
  • Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA)
  • provides free subscription access to sound recordings for the UC Davis community.
  • Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI)
  • Harry Fox Agency represents many composers/songwriters of published music when you want to make new recordings and need a “mechanical license.” Please contact for more information.
  • MagnaTune is very easy to use, has a wide variety of (including classical) music and allows for on-the-spot licensing for all kinds of uses including commercial.
  • Music Services represents composers of some religious music.
  • SmartSound is a fast, easy and cheap source of music; categories include cinematic, documentaries, atmospheric beds, corporate, rock/hip-hop-R&B, weddings & events, TV/promotions/trailers, world/travel and sound effects.


  • Copyright Clearance Center handles many print journals.
  • The Library of Congress “American Memories” has historic maps, photos, documents, audio and video.
  • Project Gutenberg is a library of 17000 free e-books whose copyright has expired in the USA.
  • MIT OpenCourseWare provides academic course materials that may be reusable.
  • Content on Wikimedia sites.

Visual Arts

  • Flickr is an online photo site, whose advanced search function allows you to search for photos made freely available via a “Creative Commons” license. Be careful about using photos with unknown people – you may need their permission.
  • Getty Images has 35 million images available for non-commercial, online use at no cost.
  • There’s a section of “Free Art and Images” on the Open Culture website.
  • freeimages has many stock photos you can use for free.
  • UC Davis Photo Library images are available.
  • Content on Wikimedia sites.
  • CartoonStock has a large collection of cartoons which you can license directly from them.
  • Pexels has free stock photos.
  • Unsplash has over a million free high resolution photos.

Public Domain

  • Public Domain works don’t require a license. Charts for figuring out when things are in the Public Domain.

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Finding Copyright Owners

Just because it’s on the Internet or doesn’t have a copyright notice doesn’t mean you don’t need permission! Finding the right person to ask can be a challenge but you have to give it a good-faith effort.

And when you do, here are model permission letters to ask for free permission.


  • CISAC – International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers


Visual Arts


  • Old webpages are accessible through the Internet Archive WayBack Machine which may help you in finding copyright owners of materials you previously saw
  • Search engines such as Google® can help you find many individuals directly

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Using Famous People In Copyright-protected Works

In addition to copyright permission, using public persona may require a “right to publicity” license.

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Copyright Policies & General Information

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Definitions of capitalized terms and FAQs are on the University of California copyright website.

If you have an ucdavis(dot)edu email address you can join the copyright-info listserv or email questions to copyright(at)ucdavis(dot)edu.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be legal advice about your personal copyrighted property or situation. If you have questions about your own copyright protected work, please consult an attorney with expertise in copyright. UC Davis students may be entitled to a free consultation through ASUCD.