Creative Commons

Creative Commons is an open licensing scheme in which creators retain the rights to their own work, but grant a licence to others to copy and distribute it in a certain manner and without the need to seek permission or pay royalties.

There are several types of licences. Some only allow material to be used as-is, while others allow users to modify the material for their own needs or to use it commercially.

Creative Commons:

  • provides user-friendly open licences for digital content
  • takes into consideration the various copyright laws in different countries
  • provides licences which include basic author rights
  • enables authors to grant permission to make copies or make changes to their work
  • enables authors to apply restrictions on permissions.


  • You must attribute the material in the way the author requests.
  • If you want to use the work without attributing the author/creator, or for endorsement purposes, you must get permission first.


  • You can copy, distribute, display, perform and modify the work for any purpose, except commercially, unless you get permission first.


  • You can copy, distribute, display, perform and modify the work, as long as you distribute any modified work under the same terms/licence.
  • If you want to distribute modified works under other terms, then you must get permission first.


  • You can copy, distribute, display and perform only original copies of the work.
  • You cannot modify the work, unless you get permission first.

CC Search is a web based tool that searches for free content in the public domain as well as content published under Creative Commons licence. The CC Search tool currently searches across more than 300 million images. Whilst exhaustive, the amount and type of content retrieved by the search tool is not comprehensive.

A CC search browser plugin is also available that allows you to search, bookmark and download images and their attribution. Instructions for adding this plugin to your browser are available at CC Search Browser Extension




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