Tools and Resources – Creative Commons

When using material created by others, in teaching, publication or personal use (copying), there are many rights considerations. Here is a selection of resources, including Creative Commons licensed resources. These are usually free to use with some restrictions, such as crediting the creator (attribution).

  • These sites contain media which has been licensed under the CC0 licence or placed in the public domain. See the Creative Commons guide for more guidance on using these resources.

    You may use these resources free of charge and with no restrictions.

    • Images

      • Pixabay – One of the largest collections of stock photos, vector images and other illustrations online. Images licenced using the custom Pixabay licence as opposed to CC0.
      • Unsplash – High resolution stock photos. Images licenced using the custom Unsplash licence as opposed to CC0.
      • The Public Domain Review – Mixed media in the public domain also contains creative commons licensed media.
      • Finda.photo – A nuanced search of thousands of stock photos.
      • LibreStock – Searches 47 different free stock photo websites.
    • Art and Photography

      • The Metropolitan Museum of Art – 406,000 images of artworks from The Met collection to use, share, and remix – without restriction.
      • Art Institute Chicago – A filtered image search. Includes famous Hokusai prints and paintings by Seurat and Van Gogh.
      • New York Public Library – A filtered image search of 230,000+ public domain images (mainly illustrations and photographs).
      • Trove – The National Library of Australia’s archive of images filtered for open access.
      • The Cleveland Museum of Art – Over 34,000 high quality, free and open digital images from the museum’s collection – Includes works by Cézanne, Dürer and Monet.
    • Sounds/Music

      • Museopen – Provide music recordings and sheet music under creative commons licences. Use their Music discovery tool to separate out different licences including CC0.
        • Open Goldberg Variations – The results of pianist Kimiko Ishizaka’s kickstarter with Museopen to create a professional studio recording and score licensed under CC0.
      • Open Music Archive – A UK based archive of out-of-copyright sound recordings.
      • Free Music Archive – An interactive library of high-quality, legal audio downloads directed by WFMU.
      • FreePD – Website of CC0 licenced material.
    • Video/Film

      • Pond5 – Also contains images, music and sound files.
      • The Public Domain Review – Mixed media in the public domain also contains creative commons licensed media.
  • The resources below contain media licensed under one of the Creative Commons licences; as such they are subject to the terms and conditions of the licence (such as non-commercial use).

    You may use these resources free of charge, with attribution (and sometimes other restrictions).

  • You can use software to edit Creative Commons or open access resources (see examples below) or check if an image is under a CC licence using a reverse image search. Here’s a few resources we think might help.

    • Checking the licence is correct (reverse image search etc.)

      • TinEye – A reverse image search engine. Search by image: Give it an image and it will tell you where the image appears on the web.
      • Google – Click on camera icon and upload the hyperlink to the image location. Google will search for uses of this image. Can be used to try to track down the original uploader and or rightsholder.
      • Bing – Click on camera icon and upload the hyperlink to the image location. Bing will search for uses of this image. Can be used to try to track down the original uploader and or rightsholder.
    • Software for creating images/posters etc.

      • Inkscape – A professional vector graphics editor for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It’s free and open source.
      • GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) – A free and open-source raster graphics editor used for image retouching and editing, free-form drawing, converting between different image formats, and more specialized tasks.
    • Colour editing and searching

      • rgbto – Check your colours and find Hexadecimal codes
      • Chromatik – A color-based search engine that automatically processes images and focuses on their color content.
      • TinEye Labs – Multicolr Search – Extracts colours from Creative Commons images on Flickr to make the images searchable by color.

For more information on Creative Commons in relation to RCUK policy or how these licences can affect your work please visit our FAQ. To learn more about copying material please go to copyrightuser.org.