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Open License Media for Class Projects

This guide is a starting point for finding and using free open license media (images, music, and video) for class projects and other educational uses. It is not intended to be a complete list of all available sources for these items.

When you use an image, a piece of music, or a video, you are responsible for learning the exact restrictions and permissions on that specific image. You cannot assume that it is under Creative Commons licensing, even if the site you are using emphasizes those licenses. It's important to understand your usage of each individual item. 

Creative Commons licenses are intended to allow users to use, redistribute, and alter another person's media in multiple ways and to certain extents. These licenses are made up of 4 basic characteristics. You will see different combinations of the following specifications to create the ways in which you are able to use the media under Creative Commons licenses. 

When you are looking at different media for your project, use this table to determine how you can use it in your project.

Attribution (BY)

This stipulation is that you credit the creator of the original media in your new work. This is attached to all Creative Commons licenses. You may see this abbreviated as "BY"

ShareAlike (SA)

This characteristic means that you must apply the same license to your work that you found on the original media. You may see this abbreviated as "SA"

NoDerivs (ND)

You must use the work as a whole and may not alter it in any way. You may see this abbreviated as "ND"


NonCommercial
You may not make any money off of your new work that contains the original media. You may see this abbreviated as "NC"


Image Resources

The British Library has recently uploaded over 1 million public domain photos from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries onto Flickr.



The Metropolitan Museum of Art
 has provided access to over 400,000 images of public domain works that can be downloaded for free and used without needed permission for any non-commercial purpose. Works that are available are identified with the designation
"Public Domain".

The Getty Museum has digitized over 4,000 pieces of art in their collection and made them available for use for any purpose as long as they are attributed to the museum.

In the advanced search in Flickr, check “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content” to find work with Creative Commons licenses.

Google's Image search allows users to sort results by licensing rights as well.



Audio Resources

Creative Commons Music for Videos offers links to various music sites that provide creative commons licensed music.

Bensound.com offers a good number of open license pieces of music in a wide variety of genres. Some pieces require you to purchase a license.

Free Music Archive offers collections of freely downloadable MP3s which are available under various Creative Commons licenses.

Freesound offers a large collection of sound effects that fall under various creative commons license.

OPsound offers music released under the Attribution-Share-Alike licenses.

Purple Planet offers a collection of free music alongside collections of music for purchase. Their free collection offers music with live instruments in most cases and also displays the music's tempo.

Sound Bible offers thousands of free sound effects, sound clips and straight up sounds. These sounds can be used in a variety of sound projects. 

Tribe of Noise offers access to Attribution-Share-Alike licensed music made by emerging musicians. It requires users to create a free account to download the music.

Video Resources

Snagfilms provides free streaming of many documentaries and indie films. Available on most devices.

OpenCulture has a list of links to 575 movies available free online through streaming or download.

Vimeo is a searchable database of user-created videos, some are available free and have Creative Commons licenses.

Internet Archive Stock Footage Collection Rights to this collection are held by Internet Archive. You may download and reuse material under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

Flickr Creative Commons Search videos on Flickr that are available using Creative Commons licenses.

National Park Service B-Roll Video provides links to public domain video sites, including national parks, monuments, battlefields, historic sites and related areas.

Open Video Project collect and make available a repository of digitized video content for research communities on a variety of subjects.

Multi-Format Resources

Search Creative Commons is a search engine for content on a variety of search services like Google, Flickr, and Wikimedia Commons. Be sure to check results for what uses are allowed for each image you want to use.

Content Curators lists sites that grant permissions for use of their content through Creative Commons licenses.

Wikimedia Commons is a large collection of freely usable media.

eBooks and Articles Online

Project Gutenberg offers over 42,000 free ebooks: download them or read them online.

Open Book Project offers free textbooks and educational materials on a wide range of topics.

Hathi Trust offers a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world (Moraine Valley Community College is not a partner, so not all books are available full text).

The British Library's Discovering Literature collection has images of over 1,000 manuscripts from writers including the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, and more.

Open Library is an Internet Archive project to provide access to than 2.5 million e-books, though not all are available as full text.

ManyBooks.net provides thousands of public domain and free original titles in a variety of formats.

The Library of Congress provides full text access to a small percentage of the books in their collections.

MetPublications provides access to almost 700 books that the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art has published online. Features titles published from 1964-present. Also includes some free streaming videos.

University of California Press E-Books collection 1982-2004 provides access to more than 500 books to the public. Books cannot be downloaded, but can be read online.

LibriVox provides free audiobooks from public domain works. Recordings are done by volunteers.

Free Books Classics is a free app collecting over 23,000 classic books in full text. It's available for AndroidiPod, iPad, etc.

Apps for Reading Free eBooks on Your Devices

There are many apps and other software out there for reading eBooks from sources like the ones linked above. Here are just a few:

Bluefire Reader for IOS (iPhones, iPads, etc) devices and Android devices is a free app that allows highlighting, searching, adding bookmarks and notes. Opens PDF and ePub formats.

Adobe Digital Editions is free software from Adobe which works for Windows and Macs. Ebooks can be read on computers or transferred to supported devices by connecting them to your computer and following the instructions provided by Adobe. Requires creating free Adobe ID.

Open Access Journals (Academic Articles)

Directory of Open Access Journals allows you to search or browse for links to free online, peer-reviewed journals.