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Using Images, Citing, and Plagiarism: Creative Commons/ Images and Music Online

This guide offers general information on using and citing information responsibly and ethically specific to art and design disciplines

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.

Creative Commons was developed to share online materials freely, without having to obtain copyright permission. Search Creative Commons for images, videos, and music through Google, Flickr, YouTube, and more.  Be sure to read the individual copyright notice for each item as the rules may vary depending on the use.

Some image search engines or websites (Google, Flickr, etc.) allow you to limit your search to images licensed with Creative Commons licenses that may allow re-use. See the links in the box to the right. Check the specific license to see if you can modify the image (make derivative works), use it for commercial purposes, or need to make attribution to the creator.  When using a Creative Commons image, you will need to link to the terms of the license on the CC website.

You can also use Creative Commons to license your work.

Images in Google and Flickr

More Images Online

The images found within the license-specific websites listed below can usually be used for personal and educational use, with attribution or credit given to the contributor. However, the way each image can be used may vary, so be sure to read the fine print before using the image.

  • Every Stock Photo
    This photo-specific search engine allows you to search a collection of millions of photos that are indexed and individually licensed into one search engine. Use of the photos depends on how each photo is licensed.
    This site offers many photos that can be used freely for personal, educational, and corporate use. However, if you do use a free version of the photo, you must credit
  • FreeFoto
    One of the largest stock piles of free photos for ANYONE to use on the Internet - providing that the photo is given attribution and a link is created back to All of the photos fall under the Creative Commons license for non-commercial, no derivatives, attribution license which basically means "use in any media providing it is not for commercial purposes and they are not making a derivative image or gallery," allowing a student to use the photo in a course project.
  • Microsoft Office Images
    Browse thousands of illustrations, animations, images, and sound clips in the Microsoft Office Images collection. Any of these can be used in documents and projects, provided that all terms are met.

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