Finding and using media

Aims and Objectives

This module will:

  • show you how to source media (including images, video, and audio) for your assignments
  • help you to understand copyright and licencing obligations so that you can ethically reuse media.

After completing this module, you will be able to:

  • locate licenced and public domain materials
  • create appropriate attribution statements.

4. Finding licenced works

There are many different ways you can access licenced works for your project, including using search engines, and by browsing or searching stock collections. For more options, see our Open educational resources guide.

Search engines

Search across multiple collections using a search engine.

  • Creative Commons Search — CC Search will search across large collections of Commons material, including Europeana, Flickr, and the New York Public Library.
  • Advanced Google Image Search — simply add your search terms and then use the "usage rights" drop-down to select options starting with "free to use".
Screen shot showing Google Image Search box
Image of Google Image Search Bar. Enter your keywords and select "Tools" and "Usage rights".

Free collections

There are many free stock collections available for you to use. These include:

  • Wikimedia Commons — contains 22 million freely usable media files including images, audio and video content.
  • Flickr — contains images you can search by search keyword and then select drop-down option "Any licence". 
  • Unsplash — the Unsplash licence allows for a non-exclusive copyright licence for commercial or non-commercial use, to share, modify, distribute, or perform. Attribution is not necessary.
  • Pixabay —contains images under a Creative Commons CC0 Licence.  
  • BBC Sound Effects — contains over 16,000 sound effects are made available under a RemArc licence.
  • Freesound — database of sounds licenced under Creative Commons.

Commercial collections

Many stock collections charge licencing fees for permission to use the works. 

  • Adobe Stock — contains images, vectors, illustrations, and videos.
  • Getty Images — contains images, music, and video content. Getty Images allows users to embed selected images in their non-commercial websites or blogs for free.
  • Shutterstock — contains images, music, and video content. 

Duration:   Approximately 30 minutes


Graduate attributes

Knowledge and skills you can gain to contribute to your Graduate attributes:

 Critical judgement

  Ethical and social understanding


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