Laurel L. Russwurm's Free Culture Blog

a writer, the copyfight and internet freedom

free culture

As I find them, I will list resources, information and discussion about the mind bending free culture concept.

A lot of people think the idea of “free culture” means that nobody gets paid. And in fact, no one is compelled to pay. The way that it really works, is that people pay what they can when they can, because we know supporting the artists/musicians/filmmakers/designers/developers/writers allows more of the creations we want to be created. This means consumers only pay for what they like.

A dashed blue circle encloses a flower and the letters F C for "free culture" as a logo of liberation

“A free culture is one in which everyone is free to share and build upon any work they see, hear or receive – all mankind’s published art and knowledge – that which by natural right already belongs to the public, the people. “–Digital Productions: The Flower of Free Culture

[In the event I’ve got any wrong, or you’ve any to add, please let me know]

New York Public Library: Public Domain Collections: Free to Share & Reuse

MANSION MANIAC a Public Domain game created by Mauricio Giraldo in the NYPL Lab
Built from digitized assets of the New York Public Library’s collection of Apartment Houses of the Metropolis, this game/toy lets you explore mansion floor plans from the early 20th century in New York City.

Free eBooks available at The University of Adelaide and Feedbooks
[Thanks Charles!]

You’ll find some free culture choral music (including sheet music) here: and


“Over 260,000 free photos, vectors and art illustrations
Finding free images of high quality is a tedious task – due to copyright issues, attribution requirements, or simply the lack of quality. This inspired us to create Pixabay – a repository for stunning public domain pictures. Your source for free vectors, free drawings and free photos. You can use any Pixabay image without attribution in digital and printed form, even for commercial applications.”


“Idilix is a humble online resource to help anyone learn about Free and Open Source Software and Hardware.
Every tutorial on this site talks about programs that are free to download and share with your friends, with no registration and no hidden fee! Take a look at the Posts and News section to know more about the free software movement.
Whether you are an average computer user or an expert you will find here high quality software that you will love!”

Free Music Push a blog promoting FAIF music

Lunatics TV Series
Lunatics: Free and PD Art Resource Bookmarks List

Talented photographer William Warby seems to have all of the gorgeous photos in his Flickr account either dedicated to the Public Domain or Licensed to share, via home brew declarations attached to each photo — for those I’ve looked at, anyway.   Wow.

Fireworks  Fireworks at the Billericay Fireworks Spectacular in Lake Meadows Park, Billericay, Essex   PERMISSION TO USE: you are welcome to use this photo free of charge for any purpose including commercial. I am not concerned with how attribution is provided - a link to my flickr page or my name is fine. If the used in a context where attribution is impractical, that's fine too. I want my photography to be shared widely. I like hearing about where my photos have been used so please send me links, screenshots or photos where possible.

Fireworks” licensed to share by William Warby

This is William’s Public Domain Dedication:

PERMISSION TO USE: This image is expressly placed in the public domain and can be used by anyone without attribution. I am building a collection of free pattern/texture images for use by designers because I always find it hard to locate high quality free images of this type.

and William’s license grant:

PERMISSION TO USE: you are welcome to use this photo free of charge for any purpose including commercial. I am not concerned with how attribution is provided – a link to my flickr page or my name is fine. If the used in a context where attribution is impractical, that’s fine too. I want my photography to be shared widely. I like hearing about where my photos have been used so please send me links, screenshots or photos where possible.

An experimental music album from Newfoundland: “virgo indigo” by Fog Lake
with a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) license

Wikipaintings has lots of wonderful high quality digitizations of public domain art

FreeSound is an excellent repository of freely licensed sound effects. I found some public domain sounds I’m using on a video I’m editing.

I can’t believe I haven’t listed this brilliant resource already! Public Domain Review

Enoch Pratt Free Library’s listing of Public Domain resources.

Public domain images

I like this: Public domain donor sticker, although I don’t know if it would hold up in court…

freemediagoo offers kind of free culture… this is their TOS… read carefully before deciding if this works for you…

Terms of Use
Copyright Notice:
The content presented within this web site is copyrighted exclusivley to the creators of This content is available for both commercial and private use free
of charge. All content contained within may not be used for
propaganda, pornographic or suggestive materials.

User License:
The license is issued only to the person that downloads the images. The license may not be resold or reassigned.
The images may be used for commercial or personal use in print, film, TV, Internet or other media. Credit for the images is not necessary.

Disclaimer of Liability:
The creators of are not liable in any way for damages that may arise
when using or downloading content contained on all pages related to The users acknowledge that they assume all risk and/or
responsibility when using and viewing this site.

The user(s) shall indemnify and hold harmless the creators of,
from and against any claims, liabilities, losses, costs, damages or expenses (including
attorney’s fees) arising from the user’s application of or participation in this service or the
information made available thereby.

The Free Music Archive (FMA) is:

…an interactive library of high-quality, legal audio downloads…. Every mp3 you discover on The Free Music Archive is pre-cleared for certain types of uses that would otherwise be prohibited by copyright laws that were not designed for the digital era. These uses vary and are determined by the rightsholders themselves (please see our FAQ) who feel that allowing a degree of free cultural access is beneficial not only to their own pursuits, but to our society as a whole. Are you a podcaster looking for pod-safe audio? A radio or video producer searching for instrumental bed music that won’t put your audience to sleep? A remix artist looking for pre-cleared samples? Or are you simply looking for some new sounds to add to your next playlist? The Free Music Archive is a resource for all that and more, and unlike other websites, all of the audio has been hand-picked by established audio curators.

Welcome to the Media History Digital Library
We are a non-profit initiative dedicated to digitizing collections of classic media periodicals that belong in the public domain for full public access. The project is supported by owners of materials who loan them for scanning, and donors who contribute funds to cover the cost of scanning. We have currently scanned over 800,000 pages, and that number is growing.

New Old Stock vintage public domain photographs

Public Domain Superheroes is devoted to sharing public domain comics

Timothy O’Sullivan’s 19th Century photographs – Although marked as copyright, they’ve all long been in the public domain

The Public

Open GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, archives, Museums) List of Open Collections

Library of Congress Daguerreotypes

J. Paul Getty Museum Open Content has released thousands of high resolution scans of public domain works in its holdings


All my own original photos/art in my Tumblog visual laurel are released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Europeana releases 20 million records into the public domain using CC0

Authorama ~ libre books (public domain & CC licensed) online in HTML format.

Coursera Free online university courses (from the Ivy league)… I’m tempted🙂

Open Source Textbook

The Public Domain Review

Books Should Be Free: Free Audio Books from the public domain

Here’s another really good Free Culture definition

As a monolingual English speaker, I’ve been told that most or maybe all of the music available here is free as in freedom and free as in beer: yamanotedreams Please handle with care, and be sure to check carefully before using it for remixes &tc. (Japanese I think.)

I just realized I haven’t mentioned Lawrence Lessig’s classic “Free Culture” is released free-as-in-beer with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 1.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 1.0) license

OPEN CULTURE: The best free cultural & educational media on the web
⇒ 420 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc.
⇒ 22 Free Hitchcock Movies Online

The College Open Textbooks Blog is an excellent resource for students, whether formal or informal.

Many Books is a lovely new (to me) resource for free eBooks – with 29,000 eBooks so far…

Nina Paley’s Avatars of Vishnu hosted in high resolution by our old friend Internet Archive. If you want the story of how this art came to be you’ll enjoy reading Nina’s story on Techdirt.

the Boxee you can buy one or make your own: freedom to watch internet TV

Podio Books: The Best Laid Plans

Litopia’s online ezine is pretty cool. In fact Litopia is – by writers for writers – for free.

Wow: Free Software “as is” SIL Catalog: Software | Fonts, Font Utilities, and Keyboard Utilities

Gutenberg Lado is a Japanese open source project for digitizing old fonts (many graphic) but keeping them in the public domain (including a Majong tile font set!)

Manfred Klein Fonteria – 2008 Releases These are not entirely free:

Simple Terms of Use

Manfred’s fonts are free for private and charity use. They are even free for commercial use – but if there’s any profit, pls make a donation to organizations like Doctors Without Borders.

These fonts can NOT be included in any compilation CDs, disks or products, either commercial or shareware unless prior permission granted.

The Freedom Box has received the required finding and is now in development.

What is Freedom Box?

Freedom Box is the name we give to a free software system built to keep your communications free and private whether chatting with friends or protesting in the street.
Freedom Box software is particularly tailored to run in “plug servers,” which are compact computers that are no larger than the power adapters for electronic appliances.
Located in people’s homes or offices such inexpensive servers can provide privacy in normal life, and safe communications for people seeking to preserve their freedom in oppressive regimes.

—/a> Push the FreedomBox Foundation from 0 to 60 in 30 days


DIY Bookscan: Al Jigen Billings’ Open Buddha Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery blog has been developing a DIY book scanner which uses Steve Devore‘s DIY software Book Scan Wizard to allow people to scan and upload public domain books with an automatic option to upload to the Internet Archive. Such copies could presumably also be forwarded to Project Gutenberg for digitization. Book Scan Wizard and the Internet Archive Team Up to form a massive book scanning robot!

Rare bird: an adapting publisher, Baen Books:

“Baen Books is now making available — for free — a number of its titles in electronic format. We’re calling it the Baen Free Library. Anyone who wishes can read these titles online — no conditions, no strings attached. (Later we may ask for an extremely simple, name & email only, registration. ) Or, if you prefer, you can download the books in one of several formats. Again, with no conditions or strings attached. (URLs to sites which offer the readers for these format are also listed. )”

Baen Free Library

an oldie but goodie: British Library offer 65,000 ebooks for free

International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) is incredible:

“We at the IMSLP believe that music should be something that is easily accessible for everyone. For this purpose we have created a music library to provide music scores free of charge to anyone with internet access, with several other projects in planning. IMSLP is also entirely collaborative, and all contributions are greatly welcome. “

ACAB Free online File Sharing

This is wild: The Beautiful, Tormented Machine: Open Sourcing My Genetic Data

not necessarily free, but open

Project Gutenberg: The CD and DVD Project

Linuxaria: 12 open source books <– I’m too tired to check the licensing of these books… they are all open source material, but of course that doesn’t necessarily free as in freedom…

This isn’t exactly FreeCulture but I think it is certainly a step in the right direction: Internet Archive: All Icelandic literature to go online?

Jim Morgan: Edith Piaf- Public Domain music looks at one of the most famous songstresses of the last century, alongside copyright and public domain. Jim links to a treasure trove of Ms. Piaf’s music available in the public domain.
Hint: you’ll be able to find lots of other irreplaceable public domain material at Internet Archive

The Free Identity Foundation is a new site looking to develop and implement open standards for identity. I’m not quite sure I understand this; so I’ve signed up to attend the virtual “fireside chat” scheduled for 3pm (Toronto Canada time) on Monday January 24th, 2011.

One of the things I really want to help with is Project Gutenberg. A huge part of my interest in copyright reform is through knowing about all the books that have been lost. So I was quite interested when I was given this link to create a homebrew book scanner.

Freenet: Share, Chat, Browse. Anonymously On the Free Network.

A new one on me: Apparently January 1st is “Public Domain Day”.

Public Domain Day 2010 Canada looks at works released into the public domain as at January 1st, 2010, with an extensive list of creators whose work is now in the Public Domain.

Toronto Sun: 100 Movies In The Public Domain

The IPKat

Although Creative Commons Licensing doesn’t always mean fully “free”, (you need to check the license before actually using it) CC usually means that at the very least it can be shared non commercially without having to worry about the copyright police bursting in your door or having the plug pulled on your Internet connection. Which is why I do include CC aggregations like:

CC Hits is a new website to promote Creative Commons Music, including a Top 25 Chart including links to the music. Cool.

Open Culture: The best free cultural & educational media on the webGuardian: WikiLeaks website pulled by Amazon after US political pressure

“copying is an essential part of being human, that the ability to copy is worthy of celebration, and that, without recognizing how integral copying is to being human, we cannot understand ourselves or the world we live in.”

In Praise of Copying by Marcus Boon
writer, journalist and Associate Professor in the English Literature department at York University, Toronto

Shareable: Study Reveals Big Opportunities In The Sharing Economy Online magazine

teleread: free list of ebooks ‘Nuff Said😀

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare digital public domain version. Yes!

Creative Commons licenses are one way creators use to share their work.

One of the best free culture networks going is jamendo. All of the music available here is released under a Creative Commons License. 100% of Jamendo music can be downloaded and enjoyed legally for free. About 75% is licensed NonCommercial, so if you wish to use of any of the music beyond the scope of the license, that can be arranged through jamendo. 25% of the music available here are licensed Attribution only, which means it can be used in any way including scoring your advertisements.

p2pnet Music Downloads

I have not tried either of the following games… but I have it on good authority that they are excellent, and I have to say they certainly look addictive, so I can’t afford to until after “Inconstant Moon” is published and the first draft of my next is in the can (*fingers crossed – December*) but both of these games look awesome. The Wesnoth folks reportedly were out actively recruited women & minorities for game developement, which is pretty cool:

Wesnoth is a highly addictive turn-based tactical strategy game with a high fantasy theme, featuring both single-player, and online/hotseat multiplayer combat. Fight a desperate battle to reclaim the throne of Wesnoth, or take hand in any number of other adventures. Let the adventure begin!

Or if civilization building is more your thing, you might prefer to try out Freeciv

Thingaverse is a place to share digital designs that can be made into real, physical objects.

CBEN.NETis the The CAD Block Exchange Network™ is the largest, most comprehensive 100% community built .DWG CAD block library on the Web.

Offering Free eBOOK Fridays: The Black Library … a great idea, but will they keep it up?

MUST WATCH: wonderful short film Sintel created with free/open source 3D creation suite Blender Blender Foundation … animators, get Blender here: Blender

I’ve myself downloaded Blender (incredibly easy to do through the Ubuntu Software Center) but it’s a wee tad different from making plasticine animation and filming it (on that archaic stuff known as film). The tutorial film wasn’t helpful to me as a total beginner, so when I was on the verge of giving up I took a look at the wikibook which is simply stunning itself, and of course, also free/libre. Blender 3D: Noob to Pro

Die Beauty is what looks to be an awesome new film being released under a CC (by-nc-sa) license via p2p on the Pirate Bay. It looks awesome from the trailer on Facebook
You can read about it in the Die Beauty blog or follow the movie on on Twitter
I am dying to see this one!😀

Richard Stallman’s 2010 Software Freedom Day Video Message

Animata is a very cool real time animation editor…. Even if you aren’t into doing animation yourself, at least check out the samples like the Animata Jazz Pub.

MusOpen: Set Music Free
*Note as of 14 Sept, 2010 You can vote for MusOpen to receive $25,000 from Pepsi to record public domain orchestral music to create public domain recordings.


Video As In Freedom – For a patent free Internet

Public Domain Comics are hosted atDigital Comic Museum

SourceForge is an online repository for GNU/linux apps. This is a link to Sourceforge: Java LOIC or Low Orbit Ion Cannon written in Java that is intended to provide a similar free version of the Windows LOIC.

Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

September 8, 2010 at 11:23 am

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  1. […] I stumble across free culture resources online, I add them my my free culture page. If you know of any online free culture resources or repositories, please let me know and […]

  2. […] have been compiling lists of free culture and Creative Commons options available in the sidebar as I come to them. If you find any such links […]

  3. […] free culture As I find them, I will list resources, information and discussion about the mind bending free culture concept. A lot of people think the idea of “free culture” means that nobody gets paid. And in fact, no one is compelled to pay. The way that it really works, is that people pay what they can when they can, because we know supporting the artists/musicians/fimmakers/designers/developers/writers allows more of the creations we want to be created. This means consumers only pay for what they like. […]

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