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Copyright, Licensing and GDPR: How to find online images and music for re-use

Searching for Music

If you are looking for using music in teaching for educational and non commercial purposes, then you can use the following creative commons site:

Creative Commons for Music

Freesound is a collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds, that you can browse, download and share sounds.  You will need to register on the site and remember to acknowledge the rights holder for any music you use.

How to find online images for re-use

You must be cautious about using the internet when searching for images as not all images are free to use, even though it is for an educational purpose.  Beware of internet platforms, such as Google Images as this is merely a search engine for finding images from different websites.  However if you still want to use images from websites then you will need to obtain the permission (in writing) of the copyright holder.  There are sites where you can search for images which provide what you can do with an image, such as Creative Commons.  You can either search on the Creative Commons site or go through Google Advanced search using the usage rights box. If you require further details about Creative Commons and the range of licences assigned to published content, then here is a link to the section.

riding into the sunset / Marin / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

There are other image repositories where you can look for images without obtaining permission for a given purpose.  You have to look at the terms and conditions of the site to see what you can do and be aware that they are not necessarily free to use.

  • Birmingham Musuem Collection - a collection of out of copyright images that have been release under a Creative Commons Zero licence.
  • Wellcome Collection - Images you can use under a Creative Commons licence, normally CC-BY or CC-BY-NC.
  • Xpert - Images found using the Xpert search include citations to creators, thereby relieving you of the effort of writing an attribution for each image.
  • Compfight - A Flickr search tool for images, which you can search under Creative Commons.
  • everystockphoto - this is an image search engine from a number of sources.  Please do look at the terms and conditions of the image before use.
  • UnSplash - All photos in Unsplash are free to use under Creative Commons Zero licence.
  • Pixabay - All photos and videos are release free of copyright under Creative Commons Zero licence
  • Salehoo - This website lists a number of sites which provide access to copyright free or creative commons licensed images.  Always check the licence terms before you make use of the image.
  • Google Advanced Search - You are free to use images for your teaching.  When conducting a search, just make sure you select an option from "usage rights" at the bottom of the page.

De Montfort University is not responsible for the content of external sites

What are images ?

Images are protected by copyright law just like written text.  They include photographs, illustrations and diagrams whether they are from electronic or print sources.  When using images it is important to acknowledge and attribute the source fully.

Searching For Image Rights Holder

If you have images on your teaching material but have not noted the owner or where it has come from, then you can use a search engine called TinEye to locate the matching image.  You can either upload the image on the search bar or type the image url, and the system will find matching images.  You can then select one of the images, which will show where the image is from and who the rights holder is for that image.