Copyright:Support Guides/Creative Commons Guide/Finding and Using Creative Commons Materials

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Finding and Using Creative Commons Materials

The following is a list of websites and resources for finding Creative Commons materials. Please note that you should always look at the license for the specific resource you would like to use, and, if you cannot determine whether or not a work is covered by a CC license, then it's likely protected by copyright.

Creative Commons Indexes

These sites provide meta-indexes of Creative Commons materials, including drawings, maps, music, painting, photography, sound, and video.

Source What is it? Special Considerations
Creative Commons Search If you're looking for Creative Commons licensed materials, a good place to start is this tool. It searches a variety of sites, including Google Images, Wikimedia Commons, and SoundCloud for resources that are Creative-Commons licensed. See the How to find Creative Commons materials using the Creative Commons Search Portal Guide for more information. Remember to verify that works are CC-licensed by following the links provided.
Creative Commons Content Directories A directory of websites providing images, music, video, and text that use Creative Commons licensing. n/a
Wikimedia Commons Free media resources Extensive user-maintained indexes of sources that provide either Creative Commons or Public Domain Materials. n/a
Google (Advanced Search) You can find CC materials using an advanced Google search. This guide, "How to find Creative Commons materials using Google," explains the process. n/a
The Internet Archive A digital library offering free universal access to books, movies, and music. Much of the material is in the public domain n/a
Moving Image Archive Contains over a million digital movies, which range from classic full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts. Many of these videos are available for free download. n/a
Audio Archive Contains over two hundred thousand free digital recordings ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded by our users. Many of these audios and MP3s are available for free download.
Ebook and Texts Archive Contains a wide range of free fiction, popular books, children's books, historical texts and academic books. n/a
Find OER An index of Open Education Resource (OER) repositories. n/a


These websites provide images you can use freely as long as you abide by any terms of use provided by the owner of the content. Please see the Image Sources Tutorial for more resources and guidelines about using images in your works.

Source What is it? Special Considerations
Flickr Source of images and videos. Check The Commons to locate libraries and museums that share publicly held photography collections. Make sure to select the Creative Commons option in the Advanced Search Settings to filter for images with a Creative Commons license.
Wikimedia Commons Contains millions of freely usable images and media; and anyone can contribute. n/a
Libraries and Archives Canada Historical materials, including images, videos, and written texts, many of which are in the public domain. Please see their copyright page for more info.
Images Canada A gateway site to images of Canadian events, people, places and things. All images can be reproduced, in print and/or digital format, for the non-commercial purposes. Please see their copyright page for more info.

Music and Sound

These websites provide music you can use freely as long as you abide by any terms of use provided by the owner of the content.

Source What is it? Special Considerations
ccMixter An online collection of Creative Commons licensed music. n/a
Free Music Archive An online library of audio and video content that the public, including music fans, webcasters, and podcasters, may listen to, download, or stream for free. n/a
Freesound A collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps and sounds. n/a
Opsound Free music. Download, share, remix. n/a
Petrucci Music Library A wiki-based repository of musical scores available in the public domain. n/a
Sound Transit Field recordings and phonography from around the world. Free to share and reuse. n/a


These websites provide videos you can use freely as long as you abide by any terms of use provided by the owner of the content.

Source What is it? Special Considerations
CC Wiki Films Listing of Creative Commons licensed films. Includes documentaries and features. n/a
Engage Media Video sharing site focused on social justice issues in the Asia-Pacific area. Unless otherwise noted, all videos are licensed CC BY 3.0 AU.
Internet Archive Access to downloadable video, audio, text & multimedia in the public domain. n/a
Prelinger Archives at the Internet Archive A collection of ephemeral films. These films are licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain license, and may be freely downloaded, used or reproduced, in whole or in part.
Ted Talks 1,900+ Ted Talk videos that can be freely shared for non-commercial purposes. A variety of languages and topics available. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.
Vimeo Creative Commons Videos Hundreds of thousands of CC-licensed videos on Vimeo. Check each license to see what time of CC license has been applied.
YouTube (Advanced Search) You can locate CC-licensed materials using filters in YouTube. The guide "How to find Creative Commons Material using YouTube" explains the process. n/a

Books and Textbooks

Source What is it? Special Considerations
BC Open Textbook Project Freely available open textbooks for courses in arts, sciences, humanities and business, supported by the B.C. government. n/a
OpenStax OpenStax free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of courses. n/a
Project Gutenberg The full texts of close to 40,000 public domain books. n/a

Open Educational Resources

Source What is it? Special Considerations
The Carnegie Mellon University Open Learning Initiative (OLI) A resource that offers innovative, Creative Commons licensed, online courses. n/a
Encyclopedia of Life Free educational resources about science, nature, and "life on Earth." Includes articles, podcasts, lesson plans, educational games, and more. Must sign up for account. Most of the resources are CC-licensed. Check individual resource for information and see Copyright and Linking Policy.
MERLOT An open online community of resources designed primarily for faculty, staff and students of higher education from around the world to share their learning materials and pedagogy. Content is licensed under Creative Commons License Conditions.
MIT OpenCourseWare A web-based publication of CC-licensed MIT campus based course content n/a
Open Course Library A collection of high quality, free-to-use courses that can be downloaded and used for teaching. n/a
Open Education Europa A portal offering European open educational resources in a variety of languages. Includes access to courses, MOOCs, OERs, and research on open education. Unless otherwise noted, everything on the site is licensed CC BY 3.0.
Open Educational Resources Commons A hub of OERs. Browse by topic/subject. Includes lesson plans, open textbooks, courses, and more. CC-licensed unless otherwise noted.
Open Educational Resources Handbook for Educators Designed to help educators find, use, develop and share Open Educational Resources to enhance their effectiveness online and in the classroom. n/a
OpenStax CNX Free educational materials. Includes courses, textbooks, and assignments. Filter by subject. Content CC-licensed unless otherwise noted.
WikiEducator A community project working collaboratively with the Free Culture Movement towards a free version of the education curriculum. n/a

Also see the Open Learning page on Open UBC .

UBC Resources

  • Open UBC: An inventory of open communities and projects happening at UBC.

Open Access Journal Articles and Scholarly Materials

Open Access (OA) refers to scholarly literature that is freely available on the Internet. It is typically found in peer-reviewed Open Access Journals, or in Institutional Repositories, which act as archives of institutions' scholarly output. For a list of Open Access resources, see Find Open Access Literature on UBC's Scholarly Communications site.