Wednesday, 14 November 2012

9 fabulous sources of copyright-cleared multimedia

Useful digital media

Want some good quality images, or videos, or other digital media to enhance your presentations and essays? Look no further. Here are some top places to find free stuff you can use for educational purposes, without breaking any copyright laws…

Creative Commons image from Cobalt123; hover over to get the Flickr URL


There are loads of high quality images available via Creative Commons (or CC) copyright licences. There are various versions of the Creative Commons licence (such as being limited to non-commercial use, for example), but the one thing all of them have in common is that you can use something, without paying for it, as long as you correctly attribute it to its creator. In other words, if you use a picture in an essay, put a caption underneath it saying “Image by [name here], available via Creative Commons.”

Good places to look for images:

·         Flickr has hundreds of thousands of them – here’s the screen to start from:
·         Blue Mountains is a site which seems to filter out a lot of the dross and just find higher-quality Flickr CC images: 
·         Compfight is a great search engine for high quality images – just make sure you select the ‘Creative Commons’ option down the left-hand side: 
·         For a different selection of really interesting and arty pictures, try Art Stor. You’ll need to do it from campus so the site knows you are from York – it’s something we’ve paid for on your behalf. Or you can search the Multicolor Search Engine for images by colour, if you really need something exact to match the colour scheme of your presentation... 


It’s harder to weave sound into academic work, but in case you can think of a way, try the British Library Archival Sound Recordings at


Many YouTube videos ( are available under Creative Commons licences (although you need to be careful that it is definitely the original copyright-holder who has granted this – someone uploading a pirated copy of Titanic and making it available via Creative Commons doesn’t mean it’s actually copyright-free…).

Also worth a look is Film and Sound Online – film and video free for use in research and education:

Further reading

Have a look at JISC’s Little Guide to Finding Digital Media Resources (PDF). Also this wiki lists a huge array of sites which have copyright-free or Creative Commons material of all sorts:

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