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Free Resources for your project.

Free media for Content Creation

The links below contain free digital media for content creation. Please check any copyright notices, end-user-license-agreements, and/or creative commons licenses for all media used in a project. Some content requires attribution, some do not allow for-profit use; there are many other factors that need to be considered in how you intend to use the source media for your project. 



Use Free Media Ethically*

*From The University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, McIntyre Library Guide

Though you can find media freely available everywhere on the web, most of these are protected by copyright and can only be used with the copyright holder's permission.  Copyright protects an author's right to benefit commercially from their original work and creative ideas and control how their work is used.  Even sites that say "free" mean you can use them under certain conditions, be careful to read rights statements and follow directions about how to ethically use media. 

Sometimes, especially for educational purposes, use of media may be covered by Fair Use. People can use portions of copyrighted materials in some circumstances-- often for comment, criticism or parody--freely and without permission of the copyright holder.  Using media in the following ways can strengthen your case for fair use, but keep in mind that this is judged on an individual basis:

  • not used for commercial purposes. Personal and/or educational use is usually permitted.
  • not to be redistributed, sold, added to an image collection or published in tangible medium.
  • does not constitute a substantial portion of the content in which it is used.

Media in the public domain are not protected by copyright and may be freely used. Examples include: works from before 1925, federal government works, works released from copyright.  See this chart for more info on copyright expiration dates.

Creative Commons licenses allow creators to grant copyright permissions for creative and academic works; ensure proper attribution; and allow others to copy, distribute, and make use of their works.  Images in the "creative commons," are available to use freely, under certain stated conditions.

Citing Copyrighted Media

If you use copyrighted media, even if you have permission to use them or they fall under fair use protection, you must give credit (attribution) to the copyright holder.  Provide attribution in your list of references or by using a caption.  When in doubt, cite it!

Reference or Caption Example:

Penfield, Edward. Cornell. 1908. New York Public Library

While attribution for Creative Commons and other free media may not be required, it is always courteous.  Follow these best practices.

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