What's the Difference between Public Domain and Creative Commons?
Public Domain refers to those media which are not protected by copyright or for which copyright has expired (think of classic books like Jack London's The Call of the Wild as an example). Project Gutenberg, for example, provides access to many of these titles. Creative Commons works still retain some rights, depending on the type of license used: some may permit redistribution, editing, and even commercial use (the most liberal standard, called a CC BY license) as long as the proper credit is given, while others like CC BY-NC or CC BY-ND may not. Creative Commons standards are available here, and a good summary can also be found in the Harvard Law guide.
You can find openly licensed (creative commons or public domain) images from a variety of sources. These images can be freely and legally used in presentations, reports, papers, and media projects. Here are some resources to get you started.
"The collection focuses on rare 18th and 19th century North American and South American maps and other cartographic materials. Historic maps of the World, Europe, Asia, and Africa are also represented. Popular collection categories include antique atlas, globe, school geography, maritime chart, state, county, city, pocket, wall & case, children's, and manuscript maps."
All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. Attribution is not required.
Welcome to Smithsonian Open Access, where you can download, share, and reuse millions of the Smithsonian’s images—right now, without asking. With new platforms and tools, you have easier access to nearly 3 million 2D and 3D digital items from our collections—with many more to come. This includes images and data from across the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo.