Always be sure to keep yourself informed of copyright usage rules.

I’m not a lawyer, but I have had to do my fair share of research to figure out copyright issues.

So to ensure Dreams To Journeys users can avoid any licensing and usage problems, I’ve put together this page of copyright terms, licenses, and copyright resources.

If you’re in a situation where you’re looking for legal advice, you should probably get in touch with an attorney.

Fair use

Fair use is a term that means you can reuse copyright-protected material under certain circumstances without the copyright owner’s permission.

If you’re going to be using someone else’s copyrighted material, you want to make sure that your usage is “transformative”: adding new expression or meaning to the original. Don’t just copy someone else’s content and call it fair use.

A lot of people usually think of fair use disputes when it comes to reaction videos on YouTube. If you’re a YouTube creator, you should probably explore their FAQ page.

Open SOurce

The term open source refers to something that can be modified and shared by anyone since its design has been made publicly available.

The reason you will usually see this term around computer software and old novels, is because it is usually used around information content. The Open Source license is about promoting collaboration, transparency, and community growth.

The Open Source license is one of the most rewarding licenses to see on a resource because it reduces the stress of having copyright rules that will slow your project.


MIT License

Software with an MIT license give the users express permission to reuse code for any purpose, sometimes even when the code is part of proprietary software.

Users can make any changes or modifications to the code to suit their needs as long as they include the original copy of the MIT license in their project documentation.

You will usually see an MIT license on projects created by developers.


Royalty free licenses gives users the right to use copyrighted content without having to pay “royalties” for recurring use of the content. In other words, royalty free licenses allow the buyer to pay the music license only once and use the content for as long they want.

Royalty free often gets mistaken for “free”, which is not the case in many situations. The author or the artist who made the content gets to decide what kind of license it will have, and therefore, the costs associated with it.

A lot of services will use this term to lure in users because while you may not have to consistently pay for the music, you’ll have to consistently pay for their service.

Here’s a service I created which would be an example of actually free royalty-free music.


Public domain refers to all works that are not protected by copyright and can be used without permission or without having to pay the original author/artist. Public domain essentially gives free use of the content in however way a user sees fit.

Essentially, that means that content within the public domain can be copied, distributed, interpreted, and displayed in public for free as if it belongs to everyone.

While one can simply classify their work as public domain, what usually happens is that a work’s copyright becomes void after many years of its copyright owner’s passing.

Public domain content is one of the best types of free content to get a hold of because that means no one owns or controls the content in any way.


Derivative Work

Fanfiction, sequels, translations, spin-offs, adaptations, and so on are examples of derivative works.

If you want to create a work based on a copyright owner’s original content, you should get their permission. 

You should consult an expert or get professional legal advice before uploading videos based on characters, storylines, or other elements of copyright-protected material.


Creative Commons is one of several public copyright licenses that enables the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. At the core of the Creative Commons license is the idea that every CC license ensures licensors get the credit for their work they deserve. 

Sometimes artists upload their work with a creative commons license and ask for attribution as a requirement to use their work.


Flickr Commons is a copyright usage guideline created by Flickr in order to help catalog an archive of public photos.

Institutions that participate in Flickr Commons believe their work to be without any copyright restriction. They are invited to share their photographs/images to be put under a new usage guideline that labels them as “no known copyright restrictions.”

Useful Resources

Creative Commons

Copyright at Cornell Libraries

Copyright Advisory Services at Columbia University

Directory of Intellectual Property Offices

Canadian Intellectual Property Office Copyright Guide

U.S. Copyright Office: Copyright in General


An important factor that Dreams To Journeys wishes every visitor to remember is that license agreements can and often do change.

So whenever you find a free resource, be sure to download or copy the license agreement for your own records to protect yourself in case of any future issues.

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