Skip to Main Content
Ask Us: Chat, email, visit or call
Video: Find Freely Licensed Media to use in Your Digital Project
Guide: Use Creative Commons Licenses
The library offers a range of helpful services. All of our appointments are free of charge and confidential.
Why do I need special images and recordings for my projects?
Whenever anyone creates anything, it is copyrighted and the creator can determine how the thing can be used and distributed.
In order to avoid copyright infringement, you need to look for items that have licensing that allows for use and adaptation, usually with attribution to the creator.
Key terms to look for include
What are Creative Commons licenses?
Creative Commons licenses are a way of licensing materials on the Internet so that they may be easily copied or reused by others.
There are several different levels of Creative Commons (CC) licenses, each of which permits specific types of reuse.
Materials that have a CC license can be copied without obtaining permission, provided you credit the creator of the work, and adhere to any conditions specified by the license.
What does it mean when something is in the Public Domain?
Public domain works are those in which copyright has expired or whose owners have explicitly dedicated the works to the public domain
Works that are in the public domain can be copied and communicated without permission.
Public Domain Tools
This resource explains what public domain means and includes tools to help authors and copyright owners dedicate their works to the worldwide public domain.
What does royalty-free mean?
Some websites or library resources offer "royalty-free" photos, videos and music.
Access to the content must first be purchased; however, the license granted with the purchase usually permits unlimited use of the content, within the parameters outlined in the license.
Royalty-free in this case simply means that once purchased, subsequent uses of the content do not require additional royalties to be paid.
Find audio recordings
BBC Sound Effects
The Sound Effects are BBC copyright, but they may be used for personal, educational or research purposes, as detailed in the license.
Bensound Royalty Free Music
Use music in your videos under Creative Commons License as long as you provide credit with a link to the Website.Cannot use in podcasts, audiobooks, song making or remix.
Free music licensed under different CC licenses. Check the track for the licence restrictions.
Free Music Archive
Offers free downloads under Creative Commons and other licenses.
Collaborative database of Creative Commons licensed sounds and effects covering a wide range of subjects.
Check the licensing for each track.
Provides recordings, sheet music, and textbooks to the public for free, without copyright restrictions.
Pond5. The public domain project.
Download free public domain music and sound effects.
Sounds like an Earful
Find royalty-free music for use in non-commercial projects.
Wikimedia Commons: Audio
Wikimedia Commons is a free media repository.
Smithsonian Open Access
Over three million images, audio files, data sets and 3D models openly available. CC0 licensing on most.
Flickr Creative Commons Search
Select "All Creative Commons" from the license drop down (the default is is All licenses)
New York Public Library Digital Collection
Items in the collections are reviewed and labelled with statements that indicate how you may reuse them, and what sort of permission, if any, you need to do so.
All photos on Pexels are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. The pictures are completely free to be used for any legal purpose.
All contents are released under Creative Commons CC0, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist.
All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.
Find thousands of Creative Commons licensed images from historical library materials and museum objects to contemporary digital photographs.
You can copy, use and modify any files here freely as long as you follow the terms specified by the author; this often means crediting the source and author(s) appropriately and releasing copies/improvements under the same freedom to others. The license conditions of each individual media file can be found on their description page.
A library resource that provides royalty-free access to millions of professional images for educational use in academic papers, projects, and presentations.
Dates of Coverage: 2003 - Current
The Noun Project
A diverse collection of royalty-free icons available for download for inspiration, a presentation, art project, website. Icons are black and white and unable to be customized on the free version.
Collect freely licensed and Creative Commons 0 licensed materials from Pix Wizard's stock image library. Adhere to the use restrictions and attribution guidelines found on the download page for each image.
Smithsonian Open Access
Over three million images, audio files, data sets, and 3D models openly available. CC0 licensing on most.
Resources to help with research in media