A Round-Up of Some Useful Creative Commons Libraries

Looking for photos, videos or audio to use in your teaching sessions or presentations but unsure about copyright? You might be interested in the following Creative Commons resources.

What is Creative Commons?

Put simply, Creative Commons is a set of licenses that enable lawful collaboration to do things like copy, share and remix. Creative Commons is a way to give permission to everyone to freely reuse your creative works.

The following websites all host huge collections of creative commons artefacts:

  • https://archive.org/ – The Internet Archive is one of the biggest archive of freely available artefacts and pulls together multiple archives and collections into one place. Here you can search photos, videos, books, music and more. Personal highlight: the collection of old Charlie Chaplin films
  • https://www.europeana.eu/portal/en – Europeana work with “thousands of European archives, libraries and museums to share cultural heritage for enjoyment, education and research.” Especially useful if you want high quality images of artwork, or old maps. There’s some great Eurovision-related content on there…
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/ – This is a project that was set up to digitise all of the images from books that have fallen out of copy write. Five millions images and counting!
  • https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en – Mostly Dutch art and design
  • https://thenounproject.com/ – Excellent website if you want simple graphics and icons
  • http://freemusicarchive.org/ – Looking for Creative Commons music? This one’s for you! As they say themselves, “It’s not just free music; it’s good music.”
  • http://www.openmusicarchive.org/ – This project was set-up by artists Ben White and Eileen Simpson (both of whom teach in the art school) to digitise and distribute out-of-copyright sound recordings. Lots of early blues jazz and folk recordings.

It’s also worth noting that Google Images and Flickr both allow you to change your search settings to only display Creative Commons images. On Google Images this can be found under ‘tools>usage rights’. On Flickr there’s a dropdown menu under ‘Any license’.

“So, can I use any of these images/video clips/audio clips for any purpose?”

This depends on what creative commons license the author/creator has chosen to use. There are six different variants of the licence, which allow you do different things, such as edit and rework the work. More info here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/. You should remember to always attribute the work back to the original creator.

If you are looking for ways to incorporate some of these resources into your teaching, have a look at our pages on Lectures and Lecturing.

And, if all this talk of freely shared knowledge has peaked your interest, you’ll love our pages on Open Educational Resources!

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