Visual Material in the Public Domain and other databases

Public Domain
Copyright Lenient Material
Government Databases

  • Public domain material in this case (images, audio and video) is unprotected by intellectual property rights or with expired copyrights or the work is a work of the U.S. Government.The mere fact that visual media is posted on the web does not mean it's in the public domain. Unless you have permission or know the media is free to use, do not use it.

    British Library

    Scanned from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books, the collection (hosted on Flickr) Click over to the albums for curated images of everything from typography and decorative paper to instruments and animals

    Flickr Public Domain
    Over 7,000 photos and growing
    Royalty free images of creative stock photos for unlimited use.

    Moving Image Archive
    Download or listen to free movies, films and videos ranging from classic full-length films to daily alternative broadcases, cartoons and concerts.

    New York Public Library
    Free for All: NYPL Enhances Public Domain Collectins for Sharing and Reuse


    Highest quality of free clip art released into the public domain

    A directory of free public domain photographs, vectors and drawings. All images are available at a high quality.

    Public Domain Pictures
    high-quality free public domain images, although some photos are only available with a premium membership to the site.

    The Public Domain Review
    A well-curated selection of public domain photos, illustrations, art, audio, films and texts. Browse their collections or check out their monthly Curator’s Choice for a special guest post that celebrates lesser known parts of history.

    Public Domain Sherpa
    Contents include photos, maps, sheet music and sound recording.

    Wikimedia Commons
    one of the largest public domain images resources. Most of images can be used freely, but some of the images have certain restrictions

  • The following websites contain a common license available for you to use based on the license conditions such as free to use or share with proper attribution to the contributor.

    Creative Commons
    Content includes images, media, music and video you can share, use and remix.  CC is a  nonprofit organization for sharing and use of creativity through copyright licenses. Give permission to share and use your creative work - on conditions of your choice.

    Creative Commons Audio - legal music for videos.
    Freesound – CC Music download and use media.

    Flickr The Commons
    Through fair use with public domain, Creative Commons licensed or copyright-friendly images.  Perform a search, click on Advance Search located in the upper right corner of the page; check the box 'Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content. See also:
    Notre Dame Architecture Library Latern Slide Collection
    Visual Resources Association Flickr Photostream

    Google Images
    Perform a search, click on the OPTIONS icon located in the upper right corner of the page and select ADVANCED SEARCH; narrow your results by USAGE RIGHTS: and select free to use and share
    Google Art Project
    Online platform available to access more than 40,000 high-resolution images of works from the initiative’s partner museums.
    Google Art Project on YouTube.
    Use Google street View to explore interiors of landmarks such as the White House.

  • American Memory – Provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience
    Galaxy of Images – Smithsonian Institution Libraries Includes animal world, bones, natural world, science and Invention, scientific instruments, society and culture, technology and transportation
    Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog Includes photographs, fine and popular prints and drawings, posters, and architectural and engineering drawings; produced in, or documenting the history of, the United States and the lives, interests, achievements of the American people.
    Library of Congress Photostream on Flickr
    Sets include: Child Labor, news in 1910, Civil War, Jazz photos, Farm Security Admistration, Women Striving Forward, Abrahma Lincoln, WPA Posters, WWI, panoramas, etc.
    The vast majority of images, audio and video published by NASA are not copyrighted and may be reused. Includes: universe, solar system, earth, aeronautics, astronauts and spaceflight timeline and videos.
    National Institute of General Medical Sciences
    Includes illustrations and videos. Permission is granted to use these images for educational, news media or research purposes, provided the source for each image is credited.
    U.S. Department of Defense
    Includes multimedia from the Pentagon Channel, Lead Photo Archive, Photo Essays, Week in Photos, Videos.