Copyright & Multimedia: Images

Make sure that you understand the basics of copyright and fair use before you consider using third-party content for your multimedia projects. Learn more by reading these pages: Introduction, What Can I Use?, Can I Claim Fair Use?, and Using Creative Commons Licensed Materials.

Below, we have listed several sites with images that you may be able to use in your projects without getting permission from the copyright holder.

Be sure to check the copyright/license status to confirm that it is accurate and matches with your use — it is your responsibility to determine that your use of third-party materials is legal!


Formerly known as CC Search from Creative Commons, Openverse searches over 600 million images, including cultural works from museums, graphic designs, art works, and, photos. Once you have your search results, you can filter your results by license type, image type, image size, and several other options.


Using the Advanced Search feature on Flickr, you can limit your results to CC-licensed images by changing the "Any license" setting to “All creative commons.” Other images free of copyright restrictions can be found using the Images from the "no known copyright restrictions" filter. These include public domain images from the U.S. Government, such as the National Archives Photostream.  

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is a repository making available over 80,000,000 media files in the public domain or licensed for reuse

Library of Congress - Prints and Photographs

This collection has over 1,200,000 images from the Library's collections. Rights information is available for each image - look for the field marked "Rights Advisory." Many collections have no known restrictions on use. For further information about using the collection, read the Copyright and Other Restrictions That Apply to Publication/Distribution of Images. Information on restrictions on use by collection is also available.

New York Public Library

This collection contains more than 180,000 photographs, postcards, maps and other public-domain items from the library’s special collections in downloadable high-resolution files. There are no restrictions on use, and NYPL encourages you to "go forth and reuse!"


Europeana provides access to millions of digitized items from European museums, libraries, and archives. After getting your search results, use the "CAN I USE THIS?" filter to limit your results to reusable images.

Stock Images


Unsplash has over 2,000,000 free stock images from more than 200,000 photographers. All photos may be downloaded and used for free. Read more about Unsplash.


Pixabay has over 2.5 million stock images that are free to download and use. All are released under the Pixabay License and may be used for commercial and noncommercial purposes with few restrictions, and attribution is not required. Search results on Pixabay display "Sponsored images" at the top of the page. These images are from Shutterstock and require a fee for download and use. Read more about Pixabay.


Pexels has a large collection of stock photos and videos that are free to download and use.  All images and videos are licensed under the Pexels License and can be used without restrictions. Read more about Pexels.

Art Images

British Library

The British Library’s collection on flickr allows access to over 1 million public domain images from the Library's collections. Read more about use of these images.

Getty Images

This site has open content from the Getty Museum's collections. More information about the content of the collections and how they can be used is available on their Open Content Program page.

The Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has made images of artworks it believes to be in the public domain freely available for unrestricted use. Their Open Access Policy page has details about the collection and its use.

National Gallery of Art

NGA Images is a repository of images presumed to be in the public domain from the collections of the National Gallery of Art. 


Smithsonian Open Access includes images and data from across the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo. All are free to use without restrictions. Read more in their Open Access FAQ

Victoria & Albert Museum

These images of art from the collections of the V&A are available for certain non-commercial uses, including some academic publishing. Read the terms and conditions to see if your use qualifies.


Artstor's collections can be used by the Georgetown community for noncommercial educational and scholarly uses. Please note that our license allows images from Artstor to be posted only on websites that are restricted to Georgetown users. Some images in Artstor are licensed for academic publishing under the Images for Academic Publishing (IAP) program. You can limit your search to IAP images by adding "IAP" to your search query. An icon reading "IAP" appears under the thumbnail image in your search results.

Access to Artstor from off-campus requires a Georgetown NetID and password.

Find more resources for images in our Images research guide or the College Art Association's list of Image Sources and Rights Clearance Agencies.

Introduction  What Can I Use? Can I Claim Fair Use?
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