120+ Places To Find Creative Commons Media

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Places to find Creative Commons Media
In this day and age, it seems everything online has a price associated with it. Whether you’re subscribing to a pay site for full articles or clicking on ads in a blog, everything online seems to have money associated with it. Luckily there’s still a large, and very healthy, movement online for media files listed under the Creative Commons licenses.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, these are files you can use in the creation of web sites and other media, free of charge. However, do be mindful that there are different degrees of the license, and some of them are for private use only, or they may require that you include an attribution to the original creator. Make sure to read and understand the various licenses, and which one each file you discover uses. When this article was first published in 2009, SitePoint had gathered over 30 of the best resources online for audio, video, images and more for use in your next project. As the years have passed, the Creative Commons movement has gained a lot of momentum. While a few of the sites in the initial list have gone silent, the new updated list boasts a much larger number of new entries. How large? Too large to go into full details for each entry. That’s why we will highlight, for each section, five websites we find most interesting, while the rest of the entries will follow in alphabetical order. All this being said, it’s time to get things rolling.


Free audio clips and songs essentially have a limitless number of uses, from playing in the background of videocasts, to being the opening theme to a podcast, or even just being used as a sound effect when users click on a link. Of all the resources out there, Creative Commons licensed music has the most potential uses for content creators and designers alike. The spread of media creation on YouTube, Vimeo and other platforms has raised the demand for quality audio clips that can be used by small content creators without losing the option to monetize their content. It’s no surprise these kinds of resources are very popular. The large number of new entries on our list proves it.


ccMixter offers up thousands of Creative Commons licensed remixed songs in just about every genre available. Make sure to read each track’s info page to see just which version of the license it follows. ccMixter


MusOpen is the online repository for music in the public domain. The vast majority of the tracks are classic music with all the famous composers present in the lineup. There’s also a large collection of sheet music, as well as numerous music education resources. MusOpen

FMA – Free Music Archive

The Free Music Archive is an interactive library of high-quality, legal audio downloads where all of the audio has been hand-picked by one of their established audio curators. Every MP3 you discover on The Free Music Archive is pre-cleared for certain types of uses that would otherwise be prohibited by copyright laws not designed for the digital era. FMA


TeknoAXE hosts a very large collection of music (over 1200), with new pieces added every week. All songs are distributed under CC 4.0 license and are free to use everywhere as long as one posts the attribution info. TeknoAXE

Silverman Sound Studios

Siverman Sound Studios is the place where musician Shane Ivers shares his music. You can browse through almost 100 free songs in various genres — all of them being offered under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Silverman Sound Studios

Other websites offering audio resources

If you couldn’t find the tracks you wanted in the featured entries above, don’t despair. One can find plenty of audio tracks under Creative Commons license in the following websites (listed here in alphabetical order):

General Searches

While it’s great to have all of this Creative Commons media out there for people to use, finding it can be a whole different matter. Luckily, there are several sites that have come along to ease your pain and help you search for just the right files. While some, such as the Archive.org one, only search their site, their collection is so extensive, it’s still worth including.

Creative Commons Search

The first stop in a generic CC search should be the search interface provided by the Creative Commons organization itself. While not a search engine in itself, this tool instead connects to various other search engines and resources in order to fetch the best result. CCSearch They also provide a beta version of a new tool dedicated only to image search, which you can access at ccsearch.creativecommons.org. CCSearch Beta


Most people only think of Archive.org for the Wayback Machine, but it also offers up a huge selection of audio, video and text documents under the Creative Commons license. Archive.org

Wikimedia Commons

Everyone knows about Wikipedia. Not that many people know about its Creative Commons section, Wikimedia Commons. This is a collection of over 40 million media files that may be freely reused subject to certain restrictions (in many cases). Be sure though to check the license details for each file to see how you can use it. Wikimedia Commons

Let’s CC

Let’s CC is a Korean website that acts as an interface to search for CC licensed files. It doesn’t have an index of its own, instead using other search engines like Flickr or YouTube. Just like in every other case, make sure to check the license details for each file. Let's CC

The Public Domain Project by Pond5

Pond5 initiated the Public Domain Project as a way to make historic media files available for your creative projects. With over 60 thousand files in the collection, it is a place worth checking. The Public Domain Project

Mainstream search engines

Of course, one doesn’t necessarily need a specialized tool to find Creative Commons resources. The same thing can be done using either of the mainstream search engine. No matter if you prefer Google, Bing, Yahoo or something else, add “Creative Commons” to any of your media search query and you should get some good results.


Back in 2009, finding free pictures under a Creative Commons license was a fairly daunting task, as most of the market was dominated by the stock photography sites. Fast forward several years and we find that this is the category of resources with the greatest growth. Where our initial list had 10 entries, the updated lineup has over 70 items. This makes the job of selecting 5 featured websites even more difficult, and it’s inevitable not everyone might agree with our pick. A special mention needs to be made to a subcategory of websites — the one author collections. Many photographers have chosen to offer their work under various flavors of Creative Commons license. In some cases, a few people pooled their images together for a larger collection. While the total number of pictures in each of these websites is not that large, you can find amazing shots that won’t be featured anywhere else.

Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr was, and still remains, the best place to find images licensed under Creative Commons. There are pre-filtered searches for each flavor of CC with results often numbering in the tens of millions. Some of the entries in the list below are powered by the Flickr API. This is definitely the first website you should visit if you’re searching for Creative Commons pictures. Flickr Creative Commons


Unsplash is, without a doubt, the poster child of the free pictures movement that has taken the internet by storm over the last several years. What started in 2013 as a Tumblr site with 10 pictures leftover from a photoshoot is today a thriving community with over 200,000 images, more daily views than The New York Times, close to 100 million downloads, and partnerships with industry giants such as Apple. Unsplash

500px Creative Commons

500px is another community portal aiming to replace Flickr, as the latter has been fading out of public interest over the last decade. With over 12 million users, it looks like they can back up their claims. And just like Flickr, they offer similar predefined searches to make it easier for you to find out any images released under Creative Commons licenses. 500px Creative Commons


Pixabay is another example of a thriving online community focused on sharing photos, illustrations, vector graphics and videos. Unlike Flickr and 500px, all content is exclusively available under CC0 — meaning they’re all part of the public domain. All submissions are screened and approved before being admitted, and there’s even an API for all you app developers out there. Pixabay


Last of the featured spots goes to Libreshot. We’re dipping here into the growing pool of single-author websites — in this case that of Martin Vorel, from Prague, Czech Republic. There are several hundred pictures available, and you can view the most popular images over the last 24 hours, 30 days or from the beginning of the site. Libreshot

Other websites offering creative commons images

As promised above, we have here a very large list of websites, arranged in alphabetical order.


The use of the licensed texts can be a bit odd, but they’re great for pulling quotes and phrases from to go in site headers.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg started in 1971 and can be safely considered the first digital repository of public-domain content. The philosophy behind the project is to make information, books and other materials available to the general public in forms a vast majority of the computers, programs and people can easily read, use, quote, and search. Project Gutenberg


The IntraText library contains over 12 millions texts dating back as far as 900 B.C., and as recent as the 21st century. Make sure to check what license is used for each resource individually before using it. Intratext

Wisdom Commons

The Wisdom Commons is a place to find and discuss information about virtues that human beings generally agree are important — like generosity, compassion and courage, and so on. This is backed up with several thousands quotes, poems, fables, essays and other similar works that are all free to use. Wisdom Commons

The Public Domain Review

The Public Domain Review is an online journal and not-for-profit project dedicated to the exploration of curious and compelling works from the history of art, literature, and ideas. The Public Domain Review

The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications

The CGP is the finding tool for federal publications that includes descriptive information for historical and current publications as well as direct links to the full document, when available. Users can search by authoring agency, title, subject, and general keywords. The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications

Other websites offering creative commons texts, books and publications

Just as before, here are some other websites leading to lesser-known caches of public domain and creative commons texts.


More and more of the web is turning to video, and online video viewing has hit an all time high. Nowadays, there’s a very large demand for quality stock video that’s free to use without paying a fortune for the right to do it. If you find yourself needing such videos, here’s where you should start searching.

Vimeo Creative Commons

Vimeo is aiming to be the second largest video community after YouTube. They back this position with one of the largest collections of Creative Commons licensed videos and by providing the tools to find these videos fast enough to matter. Vimeo Creative Commons


Videvo offers completely free stock video footage and motion graphics for use in any project. It boasts a collection of around 6000 clips and more are added every day. But be sure to check all the details of the license before you use the clips. Videvo


We’ve featured Pixabay in the Images section and for good reason. We’re mentioning here again as it also boasts a great collection of video clips in HD and 4K resolution. Pixabay


This list of featured websites must include Flickr and its over 95,000 videos licensed under Creative Commons. While most of them are amateur home made clips, you can find some hidden gems to use in your projects. Flickr CC Video

Open Images

Open Images is an open media platform that offers online access to audiovisual archive material to stimulate creative reuse. Open Images also provides an API, making it easy to develop mashups. Access to the material on Open Images is provided under the Creative Commons licensing model. Open Images

Other websites offering creative commons video resources

Here are some more places where you can go searching for creative commons licensed video clips.

Wrapping things up

Here we are at the end of our journey, with a huge list of new places to search for various Creative Commons resources. Hopefully this will make it a lot easier for you to find the right media for your projects.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Creative Commons Sources

What are the different types of Creative Commons licenses?

Creative Commons licenses are a set of copyright licenses that allow creators to share their work with the public under certain conditions. There are six main types of Creative Commons licenses, each with different restrictions. These include Attribution (CC BY), Attribution Share Alike (CC BY-SA), Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND), Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC), Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA), and Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND). Each license allows users to use the work in different ways, as long as they follow the specific conditions set by the creator.

How can I use Creative Commons licensed works?

Creative Commons licensed works can be used in a variety of ways, depending on the specific license. Some licenses allow for commercial use, while others only allow for non-commercial use. Some licenses allow for modifications and derivative works, while others do not. It’s important to read and understand the specific license attached to a work before using it. Always give proper attribution to the original creator, even if the license doesn’t require it.

Can I use Creative Commons licensed works for commercial purposes?

Whether or not you can use a Creative Commons licensed work for commercial purposes depends on the specific license. Some licenses, like the Attribution (CC BY) and Attribution Share Alike (CC BY-SA) licenses, allow for commercial use. However, licenses with the “NonCommercial” term do not allow for commercial use. Always check the specific license before using a work for commercial purposes.

What is the difference between Creative Commons and traditional copyright?

Traditional copyright laws automatically grant exclusive rights to the creator of a work, preventing others from using the work without explicit permission. Creative Commons licenses, on the other hand, allow creators to voluntarily waive some of these rights, making their work freely available for others to use under certain conditions. This allows for a more open and collaborative creative culture.

How can I license my own work under Creative Commons?

To license your work under Creative Commons, you simply need to choose which of the six licenses best suits your needs, and then attach that license to your work. This can be done by including a link to the license on your website, or by using a Creative Commons badge. Once the license is attached, others are free to use your work under the conditions specified by the license.

Can I change the license of my work after it has been released under Creative Commons?

Once a work has been released under a Creative Commons license, the license cannot be revoked. However, you can release new versions of the work under a different license. It’s important to note that this does not affect the rights of people who have already obtained your work under the original license.

Can I combine works under different Creative Commons licenses?

Combining works under different Creative Commons licenses can be complex, as it depends on the specific licenses involved. Some licenses, like the Attribution Share Alike (CC BY-SA) license, require derivative works to be licensed under the same license. Others, like the Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND) license, do not allow for derivative works at all. Always check the specific licenses before combining works.

What does “Share Alike” mean in a Creative Commons license?

The “Share Alike” term in a Creative Commons license means that if you create a derivative work based on a CC BY-SA licensed work, you must license your new work under the same license. This ensures that the spirit of sharing and collaboration is carried forward.

What happens if I violate the terms of a Creative Commons license?

If you violate the terms of a Creative Commons license, you lose the rights granted by the license. This means that you could be subject to legal action for copyright infringement. To avoid this, always make sure to follow the terms of the license.

Are Creative Commons licenses enforceable in court?

Yes, Creative Commons licenses are legally enforceable in court. They have been upheld in legal cases around the world, making them a reliable tool for creators who want to share their work with the public under certain conditions.

Adrian SanduAdrian Sandu
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Adrian is a UX Developer, creator, and speaker living in Iasi, Romania. He believes happiness is the true measure of success and he wants to help other developers achieve their dreams. In the off time, he loves playing video games and tinker with custom PC builds.

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