Discover and re-use creative works with your library

Did you know that Selma, the film about an episode of Martin Luther King’s life released in January 2015, does not use his actual speeches? It is because of copyright issues.

Have you ever tried watching a music video on YouTube, and instead it showed you a message: “This video contains content from … who has blocked it on copyright grounds”?

Copyright is everywhere - so how do you know what you can and can’t do? Where can you find free works that you can legally use?

Commons are forever is a project developed by Newcastle Libraries with support from the Carnegie UK Trust. It aims to empower members of the public about their rights to use creative works that are free of copyright, e.g. in the public domain, and to in turn share what they create with others. This has been achieved through a series of events taking place from April 2015 to Autumn 2016 - see images from the events on Newcastle Libraries' Flickr.

  • 9 April 2015: Copying - right or wrong? - a talk with Cory Doctorow and Rebecca Moosavian
  • 6 June 2015: Coding the past, coding the future : Linking local stories with Processing​ - workshop with Victoria Bradbury
  • 11 July 2015: Archive Cut-N-Pasting - workshop with Lalya Gaye
  • September 2015: We Love Monuments! - a photo competition inspired by the Wikimedia Foundation's Wiki Loves Monuments
  • 17 October and 14 November 2015: Wikipedia edit-a-thons with the BAM! Sistahood! project of the Maya Angelou Centre
  • 19 March 2016: GIF it up - animated GIFs workshop
  • 19 March 2016: live-coding workshop with Shelly Knotts
  • ​20 March 2016: Redub film clash - film remix workshop with Lalya Gaye
  • 9 April 2016: Wuthering Hacks - releasing and re-using open data full-day day event
  • September 2016: We Love Monuments! 2016 - second edition of a photo competition inspired by the Wikimedia Foundation's Wiki Loves Monuments
  • 1 October 2016: Datamorphosis - day-long event to learn new skills and collaborate on ideas for using data and content released by Newcastle Libraries​

Mimi and Eunice sketch by Nina Paley

Image Copyleft Nina Paley

Read a summary of Commons are forever in the Carnegie Library Lab final project snapshot published by the Carnegie UK Trust.

Contact: Aude Charillon (
Commons are forever Project Officer

Page last updated: 
6 March 2018
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