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Understanding Image Licenses
Under U.S. law, any "work" (a product of a person's creative work) is automatically copyrighted from the moment it is created.
- You need to seek permission from the work's creator to use it, unless your purpose meets the criteria for Fair Use. You must attribute (cite) any copyrighted work you use.
- Fair Use is a user's right to limited use of a copyrighted work without permission or payment under certain conditions. You must attribute (cite) any copyrighted work you use, even under Fair Use conditions. See: Downloading Images from the Internet.
Creative Commons Licenses
- A CC license is a type of copyright that allows the creator of a work to specify the ways and conditions under which it may be used without permission or payment. You must attribute (cite) any CC licensed work that you use (except CC0). See: Creative Commons
Public Domain and Creative Commons Zero (CC0)
- You may use works in the public domain or with a CC0 license for any purpose without permission. Although you have no legal obligation to cite a CC work, attribution is usually expected in academic environments. Check with your instructor. If you are unsure, cite it anyway.
Creative Commons & Public Domain
Creative Commons Search
Find images, videos, music, and other media that you can use, modify, and share.
The Noun Project
An extensive collection of symbols (icons) in raster (PNG) or vector (SVG & PDF) formats in the Public Domain or under Creative Commons licence.How to cite icons
Open Clip Art Library
Clip art in multiple formats with the Creative Commons Zero license.
Open Font Library
A growing collection of typefaces ("fonts") free to use without permission. See particular licenses for details.
All images and videos free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. "
Public Domain and Creative Commons
A guide (like this one) covering the basics of how to use copyrighted material with a Creative Commons license, and how to use Public Domain materials with no copyright. From Tammy Ravas at University of Montana.
Public Domain Photos
Photos and clip art in the public domain (meaning no copyright - and yes, you still have to cite your source, even those in the public domain).
High-quality Public Domain images shared under the Creative Commons zero (CC0 1.0) license, meaning free to copy, modify, distribute & use for anything without permission.
US Government Photos and Images
Images from the US Government are typically in the Public Domain.
Millions of media files free for you to use under a public domain, creative commons, or GNU Free Documentation licenses. This site makes it easy to download, use and cite media.
Image Search Engines
This indexes and links to museum-quality fine art on the Internet. Search by artist name, medium, artwork title, location or museum, subject, nationality, art movement or period, and for art by women.
Limit by size, layout, color, style, or to images of people.
A simple search interface for images in Flickr. Filter by Creative Common license.
A simple way to find images by keyword. Filter by size, type (face, photo, clip art, line drawing) and color. Use the Advanced Search for more targeted searching, and more options for specifying size, aspect ratio, file types, and license.
A simple interface. Click on an image result to see the image in context, along with size information and image URL. Use the Advanced Search
to limit by image type (including animated images), shape, size, and color.
This "reverse image search engine" can help you find the origin of an image. Also use it to find better quality or altered versions.
Yahoo! Image Search
An intuitive interface with simple filtering, including a filter to find Creative Commons images.
Academic Search Complete (EBSCO)
Type in a keyword or two, then scroll down the search page to select the types of images you would like, and ASC will find items that contain those.
Windward Community College Library