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Copyright: Find legal material

Introduction to legal material

Almost everything that is created is under copyright protection. Electronic works can be added a Creative Commons license. This license can be designed in many ways and gives the user guideline on how the work may be used. As an author, you secure your rights and do not have to ask for permission if others want to use your work. At Creative Commons, you can search for works that are licensed under CC licences.

Legal music

In Jamendo you can, in an advanced search, find Creative Commons licenses and in that way find music that you can legally use.

In CCMixter Creative Commons licenses are shown next to every music track.

In SoundCloud you can search for music, and if a music track has a Creative Commons license it will be visible on the site.

Where can you find legal material?

On this page you can find links and tips to where you can find legal material that you can use in your teaching and for personal use. It includes legal databases that have materials from creators that have released their copyright or have a Creative Commons license on their works.

Legal images

Unsplash contains images that can be used freely under their Unsplash license

Flickr is a photo and video sharing website for private use. This makes it possible for the creator to assign Creative Commons licenses to their photographs in Flickr. As a user, you can search for pictures with a specific Creative Commons license. By doing this, you can be sure not to violate others’ copyright by using a picture.

Google images gives you the option to search for millions of pictures. In an advanced search under ‘Tools’ and then ‘Usage Rights’ you can search for images according to what license they have.

Open Clip Art Library has graphic images that are not bound by copyright. All creators have released the copyright from their works so you can use these freely.

Pixabay is a database with photographs that have a Creative Commons license. Under each photo you can see what you, as a user, have rights to in terms of usage. Photos with a payment-option can also appear but you are not bound to purchase these unless you want to.

Different legal electronic material

Europena contains links for millions of digital works, such as images, texts, sounds, videos, museum pieces, documents and records from European culture and research institutions.

When searching in this database you can specify your search to the left under “Can I Use it?” – and by doing this you can find works that you can legally use. Additionally, every work will have a clearly visible Creative Commons license if it has one.

Legal videos

Videos on YouTube may also be licensed under a Creative Commons license. They can be found via Creative Commons' own website. Insert your search term in the box and tap the YouTube box below the video. With each video, you can tap Show more and you will be shown the exact license and how to use the video.
YouTube search with CC

About this guide

Remember that the responsibility for complying with the applicable rules on copyright rests with the user of a given material. The information in this guide is provided as inspiration and are neither constituted of or a substitute for personal legal advice.