6: Wyoming in the Public Domain


The search bar of CC Search on my computer screen sat below a map of Wyoming that I have hanging up on my wall. So, I searched “Wyoming.” There were over 1,300 results, so I narrowed my search with the Advanced Search tool to only show images I can both “use for commercial purposes” and “modify, adapt,
or build upon.” Unfortunately, this did not narrow the search. So I browsed the first few pages.


I found it interesting that many of the pictures that came up, especially on the first page, had to do with
the Wyoming Valley/Wyoming County in Pennsylvania. (Can it see my location, perhaps?). There were old photocopies of pictures and postcards of historical battles, mostly sourced back to the New York Public Library. When I unchecked “Cultural Works” in the Advanced Search, only two of this type of picture remained.


Some other recurring things were The Wyoming, a building in New York City, and menus and music programs from the ship of the USS Wyoming. This also preceded photos of the actual state of Wyoming. I wonder why the historical documents came before present-day in the search. Could it be because of cultural and historical significance? The trustworthiness and importance of the source? It could possibly be because these things were put into the public domain because of an expiration of copyrights, whereas the photos were simply put into the public domain by common people. There may be a tier of importance in that case. The “public domain” page on Wikipedia says that the public domain “consists of works that are no longer in copyright term or were never protected by copyright law.” So, essentially, there are two different types of media in the public domain, as proved in the case of Wyoming historical documents vs. pictures of Wyoming, and likely the reasoning behind the two options within the Advanced Search.


Word Count: 314


Works Cited:

“Public Domain.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Feb. 2018.