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Copyright for students

Image & Text Sources

Looking for books, photographs and other media for your assessment items, external presentations, marketing material, or anything else? These sources have great content and will help you avoid possible copyright issues.

Before using:

  • Be sure to double-check the terms for each database and individual file before downloading.
  • The Creative Commons Australia website has information about how to attribute material provided under a Creative Commons licence.

Books and other text

Source Description Additional information
Hathi Trust Digital Library A collection of millions of digitised titles from libraries around the world. Confirm the rights status for each title before using.
Project Gutenberg Over 46,000 eBooks available to read online or as an ePUB. Some are also available as Kindle files. Check the licence inside each book to determine what you can do with it.

Photographs & other artistic works

Source Description Additional information
Creative Commons Search A meta-search that can be used to search for Creative Commons material on databases including Google Images, Flickr, YouTube, Wikimedia Commons, among others. Check the licensing for each file to confirm terms of use and attribution before downloading.
CSIRO Science Image CSIRO's image library, specialising in science and nature photography. All images free to download under a Creative Commons attribution licence.
The Flickr Commons Collections from the world's public photography archives. Check the explicit rights statement for each photo to confirm there are 'no known copyright restrictions'.
Flickr Creative Commons Search Photos uploaded by Flickr users around the world. Not all are licensed under Creative Commons, so confirm licence terms before downloading. Use advanced search and tick 'Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content' at bottom of page.
Foodie's Feed Food images that are free of copyright restrictions. Photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used commercially.
Freeimages Gallery of free stock images. Check the rights statement for each photo to confirm licence terms before using. Model releases are the responsibility of the user.
Gratisography Stock photography free of copyright restrictions. Photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used commercially.
morgueFile Photos contributed by artists to be used in creative projects by visitors to the site. Check the rights statement for each photo to confirm restrictions before using. Model and property releases are the responsibility of the user.
Morphbank: Biological Imaging An open repository of photos that can be used for education, research or other non-commercial purposes. No commercial use permitted without permission.
NASA Multimedia Access to NASA's photo, video and audio collections (images also available via Flickr Commons). Multimedia files can be used for non-commercial purposes with attribution. The NASA logo and/or seal may not be used without permission.
Pixabay Photos, vectors and art illustrations that can be used in digital and printed form, including for commercial applications. NB: Shutterstock images will appear in the search results, but are not free from copyright restrictions. Shutterstock photos show as 'sponsored images' and have the company logo on them.
Public Health Image Library (PHIL) A gateway to photos made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA). Many of the images are in the public domain, but some are copyright protected. Check the copyright restrictions for each photo before using.
State Library of Victoria Over 200,000 historical photos in the public domain. Victoria-centric, but some great imagery of early Australia. Users are encouraged to remix, reuse and share the results. Acknowledge the State Library Victoria, the url (, the title and the original creator of the work.
StockSnap A collection of high-resolution stock images. All photos are released under a Creative Commons CC0 licence. This means they can be copied, modified, and distributed, even for commercial purposes.
Unsplash A gallery of free, user-contributed photos. Photos can be copied, modified distributed and used for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.
Wellcome Images A collection ranging from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and biomedical science. Low-resolution photos can be used for study under one of two Creative Commons licences. Confirm terms of use before downloading. Files noted as 'rights-managed' will require further permission from Wellcome.
Wikimedia Commons A database of over 23 million free to use media files. Check the licensing for each file to confirm terms of use and attribution.

What about Google images?

The majority of images on Google are copyright-protected.

If using Google, make sure in the search results you click on:

  • Search tools > Usage rights > Labeled for reuse (or whichever licence option best meets your needs)
  • Or use some of the sources above!

Copyright Resources

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