Trove of free, public domain HD video


20 Responses to “Trove of free, public domain HD video”

  1. So nice. Thanks for sharing, Rick and Cory!

  2. Christopher says:

    Wow. Having made a few short films using public domain images and my own narration I’ve often wondered if there was a trove of stock film footage I could put to similar use.

    Wish granted. Even if I never put any of this to use it still looks like a treasure trove of awesomeness, and bless the people who have put this much work into making it.

  3. Snarf says:

    What great news! I love making music videos out of stuff from the Prelinger archives. Like this one :

    Now, off to make more videos…

  4. Andrew Roach says:

    The post title says “Public Domain” but the archive says “Creative Commons Attribution.” 

    There is a huge difference between the two. Please advise. 

    • Andrew Roach says:

      Also, they are “Licensing” higher resolution stills and movies through Getty. 

      If this is PD content, what legal right do they have to require that attribution? 

      • billstreeter says:

        I think the fact that they made the digitized copy. The films themselves are PD but the digitized version is considered an original work. So they’re reserving the rights to sell the higher res versions and making the lower res versions available for free under a CC attribution license.  

        • Dave Bell says:

          US Public Domain is not always so clear when you’re outside the USA, but I’d doubt that these are in the Public Domain. Published now, it’s under current rules. 70 years after the death of the author probably doesn’t apply as they’d be corporate works, so it would be 120 years after creation.

          CC Attribution is a pretty good deal, I reckon.

          • Andrew Roach says:

            It’s a great deal, so long as the films aren’t *actually* in the public domain. 

        • Andrew Roach says:

          Digitization isn’t a creative process. Under US copyright law, as I understand it, it would be considered sweat of the brow work, and uncopyrightable. In the same way, a faithful reproduction of a work of art that is in the public domain (ie a photograph), is also normally considered to be in the public domain. 

          I’m having a hard time remembering how long unpublished works remain under copyright before passing into the public domain. If these works are still under copyright and were given to the Archive, and the Archive is releasing them, that is one matter. If they are, in fact, public domain, then it is in rather bad taste for the archive to claim ownership of them. 

          • Just to clarify, the unedited stock footage materials are actually unpublished works and copyright is owned by Internet Archive. The archival films (that’s to say, edited films with continuity) are in public domain. 

            “Public domain” in the post title was inserted by Cory, not by us. 

  5. At the rate things continue to become available, I am going to need to live to about 900 years or so to accomplish everything on my to-do list…

  6. msbpodcast says:

    While these archives are black-and-white shorts of scenes and artefacts and are virtually useless for any but the most ardent histophilic cinematographer, I find it remarkable that any of it managed to escape from the clutches of the greedy studios.

    But I bet I will manage to find solarized stills excerpted from these shorts and used in manga and animé versions of new stories coming out of Japan.

  7. Jeff says:

    It would be cool to feed this into Google Street View and let you choose the era you want to see the street in.

  8. Mr. Mole says:

    Inspired me to make this:

    More or less a straight rip with minor editing, but if 15 minutes is what you have, make something with that 15 minutes.

  9. The trip across George Washington Brigde? 
    I just had to stabilize in After Effects, I just had to:

    • thebroll says:

      Great stabilization!  I was thinking the same thing while watching some of those videos.  After stabilization, the shot becomes a pretty good candidate for slitscan effects, which I think would be interesting.

  10. It’d be grand to take some of this footage to make an authentic looking Chumley Warner style “Take heed!” family educational video. It will be done.

Leave a Reply