Creative Commons Searching

If you are doing a presentation, movie, website or project you are at some point going to be looking for images or graphics to put into your work.  Now, you could do a Google Image search, find the image(s) you want, save them to your computer and then post them to your website or presentation.  But is this legal?  Maybe, maybe not.  It depends on the license of the image and how you are using it.  I’m by no means an expert in copyright or fair use.  But what I would like to show you is where you can find images and other media to use in your presentations that are copyright free.

What is the Creative Commons?

According to their website, Creative Commons “is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Our free, easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice. CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from the default of “all rights reserved” to “some rights reserved.””

Now, just because it is in the creative commons it does not give you free reign to use it, but it does give you more freedom.  There are several licenses under the creative commons.

Types of Creative Common Licenses

Basically, the Creative Commons license enables a copyright holder to grant some of their rights to the public while retaining other rights.  Here are the types of licenses:

NonCommercial – A non-commercial license lets others copy, distribute, perform creative works and derivative works, but only for noncommercial purposes.  For example, you could use a work for educational purposes.

ShareAlike – A ShareAlike license allows others to distribute derivative works under a license identical to the original copyright holder.  For example, you use an image that has a ShareAlike license, add something or modify it in some way, and then you must license it with a ShareALike license.

NoDerivative Works – A NoDerivative Works license allows someone to copy, distribute, display and perform the exact copywritten works and however no derivative works can be created from that original item.

Attribution – An Attribution license means items can be copied, distributed, displayed, or performed or derivative works can be made, provided appropriate credit is given to the original copyright holder.  This is probably the most common license.  Here you can use the work, you just have to give them credit in some manner.

Searching for items in the Creative Commons.

So, how and were do you find resources that are in the Creative Commons?  While it is true that you could do an Advanced Google Search, I think searching the Creative Commons site is much easier (and it searches Google for you).

From here you should see something like this:

Creative Commons Search

Once you search, you can then select the sources that you want to search from such as Google, Flickr, Blip.TV or one of the other services.  The Creative Commons search also allows you to search for videos and music (Jamendo) and search the Wikimedia Commons.  All of this from a single search page.

Once you find your media (image, video or audio) you can then determine the license and use it in your project or presentation.

Let me know how you find items for use in your projects.


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