Copyright & Multimedia: Video

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!


YouTube is platform that allows users to watch videos that have been uploaded and shared by other users. There is a very broad range of videos which are created not only by individuals but also by organizations and corporations. When you get your search results, set the filter to Creative Commons to limit your results to CC-licensed videos.


Vimeo is another platform that allows users to watch videos that have been uploaded and shared by others. When you get your search results, under Refine by, select +More Filters, then License, to limit your results to CC-licensed videos. Vimeo also has pages where you can browse all of Vimeo's Creative Commons licensed videos or public domain videos.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed media content. Wikimedia Commons has a page where you can browse all of Wikimedia's Creative Commons licensed videos.

Moving Image Archive

This library contains digital movies uploaded by Archive users which range from classic full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts. Many of these videos are available for free download.

Prelinger Archive

This archive collects, preserves, and provides access to films of historic significance that haven't been collected elsewhere. Included are films produced by and for many US corporations, nonprofit organizations, trade associations, community and interest groups, and educational institutions, as well as home movies and amateur films. Many films from this archive are in the public domain.

TED Talks

TED has a collection of short (18 minutes or less) videos from "inspired thinkers." Videos are made available under the Creative Commons CC BY–NC–ND license. The site has a detailed usage policy which includes instructions on embedding TED Talks on a blog or site.

U.S. Government

Most films and video produced by federal government agencies are also in the public domain and can be used freely.

For Linking and Viewing

Find more video resources in our Streaming Media guide.

Introduction  What Can I Use? /  Can I Claim Fair Use?
Video  /  Audio  /  Images