Creative Commons: Finding Copyright Free Images

Whether you are blogging or creating PDFs for your students and you need a graphic, it is easist to work with copyright free materials.  Copyright free means that something has no copyright restrictions.  It is public domain or available for anyone to use.  It is something that no one should be making money when someone else uses it.

Under the Creative Commons system public domain items are CC0.

Unfortunately, the problem can often be in finding the images you need.  Most often I use Pixabay.  Most of the people who upload material on Pixabay are photographers or graphic artists.  That means that when you search something like “ape,” “monkey,” or “dinosaur fossil,” you are trusting the person to know the difference between an ape and a monkey as well as which prehistoric reptiles were dinosaurs and which were not.

But I was reading Jane Friedman’s newsletter, Electric Speed, and came across the Creative Commons Search or CC Search.  This is sponsored by the nonprofit behind the CC license itself.  At the time, the search will only find images but the goal is to broaden it to also search audio and text.

Although the search is limited to images the images come from a wide variety of sources, among them museums and other scholarly organization s including:

Flora.on sponsored by the Portuguese Botanical Society

The World Register of Marine Species

Geograph Britain and Ireland

The Rijksmuseum

There are also sources like Deviant Art but with a number of museum and academic organizations there will be carefully curated materials.  As with anything found online, proceed with caution and check your sources.

That said, I am looking forward to having a slightly easier time finding some of the picky, specific images I need to illustrate a scientific or natural point.

You can also modify your search, narrowing the source, the type of license available and more.  Definitely something to check out as you look for the images you need.




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