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Open Educational Resources (OER)

This guide is intended to provide SNHU faculty/staff information and support in researching open educational resources and copyright/licensing.


If you have any questions, or if you would like more information, please contact:


Ellen Phillips - Director, Open Educational Resources & Intellectual Property, (603.652.1900)

License Information

All original content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 This link opens in a new window International License. 3rd-party content including, but not limited to images and linked items, are subject to their own license terms.

What is Public Domain?

A work typically enters the Public Domain when its term of copyright expires. Determining whether or not a work is in the Public Domain can be complicated, however, as the term of copyright often differs depending on a work’s authorship, format, date of publication, and country of origin. The term "public domain" encompasses materials for which:

  • The copyright has expired
  • The copyright owner has intentionally and explicitly "dedicated" it to the public domain, typically with a CC-0 license.
  • The copyright owner did not follow copyright renewal rules (depending on the publication date).
  • Copyright law does not protect (such as works created by U.S. Government employees during the course of their employment, and works that cannot by copyrighted (such as ideas, common knowledge, data points etc.) (Stim, n.d.)

Works by American creators that were published in the US prior to 1928 should be in the public domain (as of January 1, 2023)


Stim, Rich. “Welcome to the Public Domain.” Copyright and Fair Use, Stanford University Libraries,

Public Domain Resources