Creative Commons

What is Creative Commons?

Work that has been licensed using Creative Commons makes it easier for people to share

and build upon the work of others. Under a Creative Commons license, you can download music and images for use in your school work free and legally.

The Conditions

Different licenses have different conditions. The most common ones are:

These conditions can be mixed in a number of ways so make sure you find the license symbol and figure out what the author will allow you to do with their work. Click here to see all of the Creative Commons licenses.

Attributing Your Work

If you are only attributing the image in your work (blog post, wiki, PowerPoint presentation, etc) then you should include the author’s name, the name of the work and the Creative Commons license. When possible, it is considerate to link back to the original location of the work. For example:

Communist vs Capitalist Unicorns by zoomar licensed under CC BY NC SA

There is a great tool called flickr cc attribution helper which will generate the HTML that will insert the image with correct license underneath. It’s amazing and could save hours of time!

If you were to include a thorough bibiliography with your work, use proper MLA referencing for digital images and add the Creative Commons license information as an annotation. For the image above it would look like this:

Zoomar. Communist vs Capitalist Unicorns. Digital image. Flickr. 05 May 2006. Web. 22 Nov. 2009. <>. CC BY NC SA

There are loads of places you can download CC-licensed work. You just need to know where to look!

General Search

  • Google Advanced Search – Google gives you the option to include forms of licensing in your search.
  • Yahoo Creative Commons Search – Yahoo allows you to search the entire web for what you need based on the licenses attached to the content.
  • Wikimedia Commons – The central clearing area for the Wikimedia projects CC files.
  • – A community powered search engine to search the web for CC licensed work for you to use.



Thanks to and Drape’s Takes for the resources.

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