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How to Find Free Public Domain Videos for Commercial Use

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:34 am

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Updated : 29.10.2020

There are many resources for copyright-free videos out there. However, some are limited for only personal use.

What if you need copyright-free videos for commercial use?

Your  only recourse is public domain videos.

What is a Public Domain Video?

Expired Copyright

Public domain videos are those whose copyright have expired and are available for free use by the public.

In the USA, copyright expires 70 years after the death of the copyright holder.

This law may not apply in the other countries. You would have to check the copyright status of such a video in the respective country.

Copyright Waived

They can also mean videos whose creators have decided to waive copyright protection and expressly put them in the public domain.

Government Videos

Any video or film produced and released by the government, by default, falls into the public domain. The law requires government agencies to place their videos into the public domain.

A Word of Warning

Before you use a public domain video, be certain that the video doesn’t contain any copyright-protected works like music or art. The video may be public domain, but the content within may not be.

That said, let’s check out the top resources offering free public domain videos for commercial use.

Public Domain Review

Public Domain Review is a non-profit project which relies on donations to stay afloat.

Over here you can find public domain books, images, videos and audio clips.

There are extensive contributions from Internet Archive, Wikimedia Commons, Harvard University and even the National Libraries of Norway and Netherlands.

To search for videos, choose Film as the Medium. You can then filter according to Epoch (19th or 20th century), Genre, Theme or Type (Silent, Talkie etc).

For most of your projects you want to choose Theme. You get to select videos from the following categories – Architecture, Technology, Fashion, Science & Medicine, among others.

The slant of the videos is retro. If your video project needs images or videos from a bygone era, then Public Domain Review would be an ideal stop.


If history-related or retro clips are your cup of tea, Pond5 provides at least 1000 public domain videos for commercial use under its public domain project.

Clips  range from animals, fighter pilots, protests among others.

There are more of stock clips that you could adapt to your project to get your messages across here.

Free Public Domain Videos for Commercial Use at Pond5

Another section provides event-related public domain clips mostly talks on public issues and visits by political leaders some as early as the 1920s.

National Park Services Public Domain Videos

If you’re into doing nature-related videos, then you could check out these videos revolving around the Grand canyon.

These B-Roll videos  are copyright-free , meaning they are public domain videos for commercial use.

Videos listed include aerial views, time-lapse videos, scenic views and even the Colorado River.

Free Public Domain Videos for Commercial USe

You don’t necessarily have to do a Grand Canyon -related video to use these clips. You could use them as a back drop to create mood or for a video essay on nature.

Prelinger Archives

There are clips here dating from 1917 right up to 1972.

A total of 6941 clips are available for download and free use with the need to provide attribution.

Prelinger Archives Public Domain Video Clips

Among the subjects covered by these copyright-free video clips are commercials, educational  matters and even documentaries.

Prelinger Archives Home Movies

Another public domain video section is available in the form  of ‘home movies’.

Containing 1,167 clips, mostly shot by amateurs, they include even such serious subjects as Navy Intitation at Sea,  Ontario Tourism and 1920s Mining Executives.

If you dig hard enough into these two public domain video archives, you would find something useful to use in your video video projects.

Prelinger Archives Public Domain Home Video Clips

At the least, you could use their copyright-free background music. MP3 download is available without the need for you to extract the audio on your own.

Videos could be previewed before downloading and formats available range from MPEG4, H.264, MPEG2 and even OGG video.

This is one resource where you could certainly find free public domain videos for commercial use.

Vimeo Public Domain Video Channel

The collection over here is rather limited. At the time of writing, there are only ten  videos listed in Public Videos.

Among the subjects covered are train arriving, Sao Paulo subway, pigeons in the park and borwn cat.

Although only tebn clips are listed here, there are just a part of a bigger collection uploaded at

For example the train arriving video is part of the Sao Paulo subway collection which has 21 free public domainvideos for commercial use at

This collection is by Ace of Spades who has a channel of public domain channel at consisting of 46 groups of videos.

Video quality is in 720p.

Check the Licences

Although these footages are listed as free public domain videos for commercial use at the time of writing, it pays to check their usage licenses before use,  in case of changes.

Also, you may want to, though not required, attribute the videos you use to their original creators.

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