Creative Commons & other copyright-friendly materials

Copyright legislation gives the copyright owner the automatic and ‘exclusive right’ to make a copy of it; to make it available online or in print; to change it in any way; to perform it; and to commercialise it.  Anyone wanting to use the work must either seek the copyright owner’s permission or find an appropriate provision in the Copyright Act.

Creative Commons (CC) is the most well-known of the licensing systems that an author, or other creator, can use to release their work in less restrictive ways than these ‘exclusive rights’, whilst still retaining their copyright in the work.

Applying a CC licence means that an author can let you know what you can do with a work without having to ask their permission, or having to hope for an appropriate provision in the Copyright Act.

Creative Commons licences

Every CC licence allows the user to, at least:

  • copy the work; distribute it; display or perform it publicly; make digital public performances of it and/or shift the work into another format as a verbatim copy

Beyond this, the various licences may allow the creation of derivative works, permit only non-commercial uses, etc.

  • all Creative Commons licensed content and derivatives can be uploaded to LMS as well as to open websites, wikis, etc., but remember to check the specific details of each licence used – and that they all require attribution.

Creative Commons licensing terms and permissions [PDF, 90kb]

Introducing Creative Commons licences: How they work, why they are useful, and how to apply a licence to your own work [VIDEO]

Finding Creative Commons licensed materials

How to find and use Creative Commons licensed resources: Videos, images, teaching materials, and more [VIDEOS]

Free to Share: Links to CC licensed and other copyright friendly websites

Creative Commons-Search: Send a CC search query to a number of sources

Sources of educational content (Open Educational Resources or OER)

Sources of CC images

  • Google Images: Add 'Creative Commons' to your search term(s); check for any specific licence requirements
  • Yahoo Images: Add 'Creative Commons' to your search term(s); check for any specific licence requirements
  • Flickr: Add 'Creative Commons' to your search term(s); check for any specific licence requirements
  • Wikimedia: All the images are CC licensed
  • Photos for Work: All images are CC licensed - downloads automatically cite attribution and relevant licence
  • Photos for Class: All images are CC licensed - downloads automatically cite attribution and relevant licence
  • Atlas of Living Australia: A collaborative, national project that aggregates biodiversity data, images, datasets, and more from multiple sources
  • Encyclopaedia of Life: Over 2.9 million images depicting life on Earth
  • The Wellcome Institute: A range of collections including biomedical science and ancient manuscripts

Copyright-friendly image collections

Not necessarily CC licensed but ok for educational use with no further permission required.

Public Domain image collections

No copyright restrictions.

By law, there is no copyright in U.S. Government works (conditions of use may apply) e.g. images at NASA