Creative Commons (CC) is a global nonprofit organisation with staff and affiliates across the world. The goal of Creative Commons is to make it easy to access, build on, and help grow the public commons of cultural, educational, and scientific works - that has existed for thousands of years. To facilitate that goal Creative Commons developed a simple, standardised and legally robust set of tools that allows institutions and individuals to grant copyright (©) permissions for others to use their works. Before Creative Commons, there was no standardised way to do this.
Wanna Work Together? by Creative Commons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. https://creativecommons.org/about/videos/wanna-work-together/
Creative Commons licences make it possible for works to have some (i.e. not all) rights reserved. The licences allow others to copy and reuse work without seeking permission, as the creator has already authorised this in advance. This removes the barrier that stands between a creative work and a prospective user of that work. It is often difficult, sometimes impossible, to locate the owner of a work to seek their permission. If approval to copy is given in advance, the process is simplified. There are six main Creative Commons licences. These are formed by combining the 4 licence conditions. A creator will identify their conditions enabling the work to be used in various ways. For example, a Creative Commons licence may insist only that the creator of a work be attributed or credited when the work is reused, without demanding anything further. Or, an artist or author may combine Creative Commons licence conditions to allow users to adapt their work, share it with others, or use it for non-commercial purposes.
It can be difficult to locate suitable material for use for illustrative purposes, or to convey concept or meaning. The problem is that material (text, images, diagrams, tables, sketches etc) - including any written or artistic works - is normally automatically protected by copyright and therefore only available for legal use with specific permission. Even material available on the internet is still protected by copyright unless otherwise stated. But there is ready solution in the form of a large and growing pool of freely available creative works licensed for re-use:
Use CC Search to find material from a number of websites which host Creative Commons licensed content. You may search by keyword, type of material, or licence type - to find exactly the right item.
All Creative Commons licences contain the Attribution element. This means that you must acknowledge the creator of the work. This is also a requirement under Australian copyright law. An attribution should include:
For example: A photo found on cc search requests attribution this:
You may also need to provide academic attribution in your list of references, e.g.
Jarvis, D. (2018). Writer’s Guild [photograph]. Retrieved from https://flic.kr/p/27MtQgo
CSIRO science images use a Creative Commons licence.
Flickr: Flickr Commons offers some of its images free of copyright restrictions
Clip Art: This site uses a Creative Commons Zero 1.0 Public Domain License
University of California Presses: The University of California Press e-books collection holds books published by UCP
Wikimedia Commons: Online source of images that are free to use.
Internet Archive Digital Library: Digital library of free books, movies, and sounds.
Wikisource: Plain text, HTML versions of public domain books.