DOKK Library

Guide to using public domain tools

Authors Creative Commons

License CC0-1.0

Creative Commons makes sharing easy                             Public domain works are valuable because anyone                          What is the difference between
                                                                can freely build upon, enhance, and reuse them for                       CC0 and the Public Domain Mark?
                                                                any purposes without restriction under copyright
                                                                or database law.

Guide to
                                                                                                                                                         CC0 (“CC Zero”) is intended for use only
                                                                That’s why it’s important for creators to have a clear and
                                                                                                                                                         by authors or holders of copyright and
                                                                legally robust way to place their works in the public domain as
                                                                                                                                         related rights (including database rights), in connection
                                                                completely as possible, and it’s also important for publishers
                                                                                                                                         with works that are still subject to those rights in one or

using public
                                                                and archives to have a standardized way to identify works that
                                                                are already in the public domain.                                        more countries.

                                                                Creative Commons supports two distinct public domain tools,              When CC0 is applied to a work, copyright and related
                                                                                                                                         rights are relinquished worldwide, making the work free

domain tools
                                                                the CC0 Public Domain Dedication and the Public Domain
                                                                Mark. Creative Commons copyright licenses help authors                   from those restrictions to the greatest extent possible.
                                                                manage their copyright on terms they choose. Conversely, CC0
                                                                enables authors and copyright owners who want to dedicate                             The Public Domain Mark (PDM) is used
                                                                their works to the worldwide public domain to do so, and PDM                          to label works that are already free of
                                                                facilitates the labeling and discovery of works that are already         known copyright restrictions. Unlike CC0, PDM doesn’t
                                                                free of known copyright restrictions.                                    change the copyright status of a work.
                                                                Where public domain tools fit in the copyright spectrum                  PDM can be used by anyone, and is intended for use
                                                                                                                                         with works that are already free of known copyright
                                                                            Public                                                       restrictions throughout the world.
                                                                            domain                 Some rights              All rights
                                                                                                   reserved                 reserved
                                                                            No known

What Is Creative Commons?                                       The CC0 Public Domain Dedication                                         Public Domain Mark
Creative Commons is a global nonprofit organization             Use this universal tool if you are a holder of copyright or database     Use this tool if you have identified a work that is free of known
                                                                rights, and wish to waive all your rights to the work worldwide.         copyright restrictions.
dedicated to supporting an open and accessible Internet
that is enriched with free knowledge and creative resources
for people around the world to use, share, and cultivate.

Our easy-to-use licenses provide a simple, standardized way
to give the public permission to share and use your creative
work — on conditions of your choice. CC licenses let you        By using CC0, you waive all copyright and related rights                 Works marked with the Public Domain Mark have been
change your copyright terms from the default of “all rights     together with all associated claims and causes of action with            identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright
reserved” to “some rights reserved.”                            respect to this work to the extent possible under the law.               law, including all related and neighboring rights. Anyone can
Millions of people use CC licenses on some of the world’s                                                                                copy, modify, distribute, and perform such works, even for
                                                                Applying CC0 to your work is easy. Simply visit the CC0 chooser
most popular platforms for user-generated content. When                                                                                  commercial purposes, all without asking permission.
                                                                ( which will lead you
you use a CC license to share your photos, videos, or blog,     through the process. When completed, you will be provided                Applying the PDM to a work is easy. Simply visit the PDM
your creation joins a globally accessible pool of resources     with HTML code that you can copy and paste into your website.            chooser ( which
that includes the work of artists, educators, scientists, and                                                                            will lead you through the proces. When completed, you will be
governments.                                                    You let others copy, modify, distribute, and perform the work,
                                                                                                                                         provided with the HTML code that you can copy and paste into
                                                                even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.
                                                                                                                                         your website.
      Creative Commons has waived all copyright and                                                                                      Creative Commons does not recommend this tool for works that
      related or neighboring rights to this guide using the
      CC0 Public Domain Dedication.                                                                                                      are restricted by copyright laws in one or more jurisdictions.
                                                                                                                                         Consult with your legal advisor if you are unsure whether you
                                                                                                                                         should use the PDM for a certain work.