Copyright law is complex and sometimes intimidating. But if you ever plan to share your work publicly, on a website, blog or ePortfolio, it is essential to make sure that any use of third-party media is legal. Fortunately, we have assembled some resources to make this process easier.

Why Is Copyright Important?

Understanding intellectual property issues for online media is far from straightforward; but learning the basics of copyright law will help you:

  • Identify media for use in your projects
  • Protect and share your work online
  • Teach concepts of fair use in your classroom

Learn More About Copyright

Citing Sources

Do you need to build a works cited page for your project?  Not sure how to properly cite media sources according to the guidelines for your area of study? Try the University Libraries Citation Guide!

Browse Free Media Sources

Audio

Use this multimedia search engine to find various types of CC licensed items from sources such as Google Images, Fotopedia, Jamendo, Flickr and more.

License: Creative Commons
Various

The world’s biggest free music library. Download thousands of free MP3s, all with Creative Commons licenses so that you can modify, adapt and build on most works in your own projects.

License: Creative Commons
Various

This portion of moby.com, Film Music, is for independent and non-profit filmmakers, film students, and anyone in need of free music for their independent, non-profit film, video or short.  The music is free as long as it’s being used in a non-commercial or non-profit film, video, or short.

License: Author-Defined License

Freesound is a collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sound effects. Free registration required to download sounds.

License: Creative Commons Attribution

Library of short must intros and outros to use in podcasts or videos. Note: This link will open the iTunes application and ask you to log in to the Penn State iTunes U site.

License: Penn State Commons
Created by Jason Johnson

SoundCloud, launched in 2008 by Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss, is a social sound platform that gives users unprecedented access to the world’s largest community of music and audio creators. This CC licensed search will allow you to find uploads to use in your projects.

License: Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial

The SpinXpress search tool lets you define the type of media you are looking for, what license you want and you can restrict what source or search all of them to find just what you need.

License: Creative Commons
Various

Images, audio and video recordings related to space flight, astronomy and aeronautics created by NASA, most of which are not copyrighted.

License: None

Images

Use this multimedia search engine to find various types of CC licensed items from sources such as Google Images, Fotopedia, Jamendo, Flickr and more.

License: Creative Commons
Various

An average of 800 state, regional, national and international photos are added daily to the AP Photo Archives. After a year, approximately 200 of the best daily photos are retained permanently. The Photo Archive’s historical collection continues to grow, featuring images from significant news and features events of the 19th, 20th and 21st century.

License: PSU users only

Not sure what type of photos you are looking for? Many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license and you can browse or search through content under each type of license here.

License: Creative Commons
Various

Use this advanced Flickr search to find images by keyword and use the tools at the bottom to filter for only Creative Commons licensed materials that you can modify, adapt and build upon for your own projects.

License: Creative Commons
Various

Use this resource to search for various kinds of Creative Commons licensed images through a Google Image Search filter that allows you to specify the level of license needed. Media Commons recommends “Reuse with modification” for most class projects.

License: Creative Commons
Various

Images, audio and video recordings related to space flight, astronomy and aeronautics created by NASA, most of which are not copyrighted.

License: None

Map images which can be downloaded, organized by region, type and theme. Most are public domain or licensed for non-commercial use. The PCL Map Collection includes more than 250,000 maps, 20% of which is online.

License: Author-Defined License

The REALIA Project publishes faculty-reviewed media for the teaching and study of modern languages and cultures. Images from around the world available for non-commercial use. Although the archive is for foreign language instructors, materials can apply to cultural studies and other social science issues.

License: Author-Defined License

The SpinXpress search tool lets you define the type of media you are looking for, what license you want and you can restrict what source or search all of them to find just what you need.

License: Creative Commons
Various

Video

Use this multimedia search engine to find various types of CC licensed items from sources such as Google Images, Fotopedia, Jamendo, Flickr and more.

License: Creative Commons
Various

The A/V Geeks Film Archive is an ephemeral film collection curated by Skip Elsheimer. What started as a hobby more than ten years is now a lifetime commitment. His collection has grown to over 24,000 films gathered from school auctions, thrift stores, closets and dumpsters. The Archive features old civil defense & public service films shot by the government in the 40′s & 50′s.

License: Creative Commons
Various

Short, stylized, loopable video loops, typically used by VJ’s. Download from this archive or submit your own works to contribute to this growing community.

License: Creative Commons
Various

Images, audio and video recordings related to space flight, astronomy and aeronautics created by NASA, most of which are not copyrighted.

License: None

Full length movies that have entered into the Public Domain, these films can be downloaded, modified and remixed freely into your own projects.

License: None

The SpinXpress search tool lets you define the type of media you are looking for, what license you want and you can restrict what source or search all of them to find just what you need.

License: Creative Commons
Various

Categorized stock video clips from WGBH TV. The WGBH Lab is an innovation of WGBH’s Boston Media Productions, a leader in local news, public affairs, arts and bi-cultural productions.

License: Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

 

Still Looking for More Media?

CreativeCommons.org provides a community-built and maintained Content Directory that features hundreds of media resources from around the world and in a variety of different subject areas.