Copyright laws vary from country to country, but the basic concept is the same in that you shouldn’t use someone else’s work and claim it as your own. Some people, however, have made their materials available for anyone to use and have given permission to use them by using a Creative Commons license or releasing their work into the public domain. Below is a list of websites that have Creative Commons or public domain media. This list is provided “as-is.” Be sure to double-check the licensing information for each site, as their copyright statements may have changed, and also check each image, as some sites may charge for images or may also have images that are not in the public domain or available under Creative Commons. Additionally, if you know of other websites that offer a similar service, please share them with the class!
Public Domain, Creative Commons, or Otherwise Free Media
- Wikimedia Commons. A database of over 10 million freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute.
- Creative Commons. Searches across Google Images, Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, and more.
- Copyright-Friendly Wikispaces. Copyright-friendly images and sound for use in media projects and web pages, blogs, wikis, etc.
- Compfight. Recommended for searching Flickr Creative Commons materials.
- CC Google Images Search. Google Image advanced search for reusable media.
- Only2Clicks: Images. Links to many other sources for copyright-friendly images.
- Federal Registry for Educational Excellence. Teaching and learning resources from federal agencies listed by subject including arts & music, health and phys. ed., language arts, math, science, world studies, and U.S. history. Includes images, animations, primary documents, and videos.
- MIT OpenCourseWare. Charts, diagrams, pictures, and more from MIT courses available on Flickr.
- Flickr Commons (not same as Creative Commons search). Publicly-held photography collections from libraries and archives around the world.
- Wikiversity. Open educational resources, including math formulas, diagrams, charts, etc.
- Citizendium. Additional wiki media.
- Large collection of famous artwork.
- Even larger collection of artwork. More than 2,600 realist painters, many in the public domain; check catalog for dates of works and artists.
- Photos of animals organized by name with Creative Commons licenses.
- Educational Technology Clearinghouse. Massive collection of clip art, stock photos, maps, etc. for educational uses.
- Aggregation of cultural heritage collections and exhibits from libraries, museums, and archives.
- Historical images.
- U.S. History Images.
- Images rescued from old books, magazines, and old print materials.
- Public domain maps from the National Atlas.
- Country maps, all in the public domain.
- Country flags, all in the public domain.
- National Library of Medicine. Nearly 60,000 images. The collection includes portraits, pictures of institutions, caricatures, genre scenes, and graphic art in a variety of media, illustrating the social and historical aspects of medicine.
- Smithsonian Science Service. Images representing 20th century scientific research in period publications.
- Wellcome Images. Themes ranging from medical and social history to contemporary health care and biomedical science.
- The Science Creative Quarterly. Collection of scientific, textbook-like diagrams from microbiology biology.
- NOAA Photo Library. Includes weather and space images, images of shores and coastal seas, and marine-specific images.
- Illinois State Geological Survey. Provides a large collection of Illinois maps and images of geology and hazards.
- Tasa Clips. Images for the geosciences. Illustrations, such as a “Hawaiian hotspot,” “Ocean trenches,” or “Classification of igneous rocks.”
- Bugwood Image Database. Covers invasive species, forestry and agriculture-integrated pest management, plants, insects, diseases, fungi, wildlife, fire, and other natural resource issues.
- Ad*Access. Over 7,000 U.S. and Canadian advertisements covering 5 product categories including: beauty and hygiene, radio, television, transportation, and World War II propaganda, dated between 1911 and 1955.
- Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920. Over 3,300 advertising items and publications dating from 1850 to 1920, illustrating the rise of consumer culture and the birth of a professionalized advertising industry in the United States.
- Directory of Open Access Journals. Over 10,000 open access journals from the last 10 years.
- Stock Photos/Decorative Images:
- Teachers’ Domain. Large repository of digital media in arts, sciences, health, math, English, and social science.
- Russia Today Free Video. Videos in international affairs, political science, and current events all free to download, caption, and stream.
- The National Academies. Videos on engineering, biology, climate change, and general sciences. Free to download, caption, and stream.
- Internet Archive. Library of free movies, films, and videos. Range from class full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts.