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Getting the Most from Free Resources

Images from the internet: You can safely copy & paste from:

Smiley faceSites where a reputable organisation has released a collection of images that it owns. They either do so on their own site or on a platform such as Flickr

Examples include NASA
and The Science Museum   
or British Virgin Islands Tourist Board
The University of Creative Arts has released an archive of images for the visual arts for educational use:

You do need to check the terms of use and follow instructions for acknowledging the source. See the guidance on referencing Creative Commons images here:

Smiley faceImages which are in the public domain because they are old enough that copyright has expired

For example the British Library has a channel on Flickr where it shares copyright-expired pictures for re-use:


Smiley faceDirectories of free-to-use use images where all images are provided by the site owners on a free-to-use basis

For example

Iconmonstr is a directory of free to use icons


Images from the internet: You need to think before using:

QuerySites where members of the public make their images available for anyone to use under a Creative Commons licence - these include Flickr Creative Commons, Pixabay and Google's search for copyright-free images

  • People can add pictures without knowing that the picture they have taken breaches copyright. The fact that they are happy for you to re-use it is irrelevant if the picture itself breaches copyright. An example of this would be a picture someone has taken of a painting in an art gallery. Use of that picture would breach the artist's rights if reused.
  • You can use "reverse image" search to get a sense of whether the picture is original or whether it may have been copied without permission. Use or Google image search.
  • Some sites such as Flickr allow photographers easily to change their licence. This means that after you have used a picture, its licence could change and you could unwittingly breach copyright.

Search for more examples of image-sharing sites using