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Copyright & Licensing for Student Creators

Use Google's Advanced Search to find openly licensed material:

diagram of how to use the advanced google search to find openly licensed materials. 1. at the bottom of the screen click on Settings, and select Advanced Search. 2. type in your keywords after “all these words” and select “free to use share or modify” under “usage rights”

Finding Images

 

camera icon for image
Images

 


Best Bets for Images
 
  • Creative Commons Search Tool
    Search websites for images you can share, use, and remix. Each image record includes an "Attributions" tab.

  • Flickr
    1 Billion+ photos. Filter by topic, color, usage rights, date, size and more. Use license dropdown menu in search results to limit results to images with Creative Commons licenses. 

  • Google Images
    Search keywords or even upload an image. Once you have your results, click the tools and use the "usage rights" drop down to limit to "Creative Commons licenses." You may also limit by word, color, image size, image type, etc.

  • Pixabay
    Free images or videos that you can use freely without attribution. Unlike other large stock media sites all licensed CC0 (Public Domain). 

  • Wikimedia Commons
    Images, sounds, and video clips are free to copy, use and modify as long as you follow conditions specified by the author. License conditions of each individual media file can be found on its description page.


Other Great Sources for Images
 

Finding Videos


Video icon. 
Videos
 


Best Bets for Videos
  • Pixabay
    Free images or videos that you can use freely without attribution. Unlike other large stock media sites all licensed CC0 (Public Domain). 
     
  • Videvo - Video 
    Free stock videos, motion graphics, and music for use in any project.  Can be used in personal and commercial productions. Clips licensed CC 3.0 must be attributed. 
     
  • Vimeo Creative Commons

    After YouTube, Vimeo has one of the largest collections of Creative Commons licensed videos. It providing tools to find these videos fast enough to matter, and has a designated collections page exclusive to Creative Commons videos.

  • YouTube (Filter by Creative Commons)
    Millions of Creative Commons-licensed videos (among their billions of video collections). Most videos with a Creative Commons License are licensed CC BY. The key is filtering them to isolate the Creative Commons-licensed ones. The link shows you how to do this.


Other Video Sources
  • Open Video Project
    Repository of digitized video content for video, multimedia retrieval, digital library, and other research communities. Check the digitization organization in video descriptions to see if the content can be remixed.
     
  • Wikimedia Commons
    Images, sounds, and video clips are free to copy, use and modify as long as you follow conditions specified by the author. License conditions of each individual media file can be found on its description page.

Finding Music and Sound



Music and Sound
 


Best Bets for Music and Sound
  • ccmixter
    Community music site featuring remixes and samples with Creative Commons licenses. You are free to upload, download, and sample music and stems on this site and share the results with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Each submission is marked clearly with the license that applies to it. Licensed CC BY, CC BY-NC and sliding scale, royalty free. 

  • digccmixter
    Search ccmixter by tags, i.e., genre, instrument, and style. Use the "Featured" menu to find music by type of project (film / video games) and type of license. Each song is marked clearly with the license that applies to it. Licensed CC BY, CC BY-NC and sliding scale, royalty free.

  • Free Music Archive
    Offers free access to openly licensed, original music. Many curators, netlabels and independent musicians around the world contribute. Very helpful search filters help find music by genre, curator, instrumentation, usage (commercial), and length. Also allows you to choose any of the six Creative Commons licenses and public domain music. Each song is marked clearly with the license that applies to it.

  • Videvo - Music and Sound Effects
    Free stock videos, motion graphics, and music for use in any project. Good browse experience by mood, instrument, genre. Fun children's music and excellent collection of sound effects. Can be used in personal and commercial productions. Clips licensed CC 3.0 must be attributed. 


Other Sources for Music and Sound
 
  • Jamendo
    Extensive catalog of openly licensed music to stream and download for personal use. Not possible to filter by license type, and Jamendo helps artists license their music for a fee for commercial use. 

  • TeknoAXE
    Very large collection of music (over 1200), with new pieces added every week. Free to use everywhere. Attribution required. Licensed CC BY.

  • SoundBible
    Large assortment of sound effects for personal and commercial use. Cannot filter by license. Some licensed CC BY and CC0 (Public Domain) for commercial fee. Others are Royalty Free. Check license before use.

  • Wikimedia Commons
    Images, sounds, and video clips are free to copy, use and modify as long as you follow conditions specified by the author. License conditions of each individual media file can be found on its description page.

Strategies for figuring out the license for content found on the internet

It isn't so simple to know if you can use, share, and remix work you find on the internet. Here are some strategies for finding license information. 

  • Look on the content itself.
    Does it display a license? 
     
  • Check the very bottom of the website.
    Do you see an "All rights reserved" statement? Does it show an open license or explain terms of use?
     
  • Look for a License section of the website.
    Many websites will have a dedicated page with a name like 'License,' 'Copyright,' 'Terms of Use,' or 'Rights.' This is where you will find information about who owns the intellectual property and how you may legally use it.

Giving Credit to Others

Disclaimer, Terms of Use & Attributions

This guide is for your general information purposes only and not to be construed as legal advice. If you have legal questions, please consult with an attorney.

Creative Commons License
Unless otherwise stipulated, this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons License
Content on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Content on this page adapted from:

Original works licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.