Open Education

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.

Open Image Repositories

Places to Search

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.

Finding Creative Commons Images

To use Google to find a CC Licensed picture, enter your search, click on "more," use the dropdown menu for usage rights and click on Creative Commons

For Flickr CC licenses, use the license menu to choose the type of license you need