What are Creative Commons Images?
The Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organisation that lets creatives share their work under different licenses. These images are listed by one of these seven different licenses which control their use. All the images are free to use but some have important requirements that must be followed.
In this article I will break down:
The licenses that govern CC imagery
How to use CC imagery
Where to find CC imagery
The licenses for CC
So there are seven licenses that control CC content, from free public domain up to non-commercial with no derivatives. Pixsy did a great break down that we’ll share here. (Check out their page for more details if you are interested.)
CC0 (Creative Commons Zero): Public Domain documents. This means the creator forfeits ownership of the copyright and you can edit and make profit from the image.
CC BY(Creative Commons Attribution): The right to be shared, used, and modified, if the work is attributed to the creator.
CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike): Following in the steps of the open source movement, these images can be shared, used, and modified, if the work is attributed the creator and the license used on the new piece is the same as the original.
CC BY-ND (Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives): This grants the right for images to be used when properly attributed, but does not permit any modifications to the original.
CC BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial): This can be shared, used, and modified, as long as it's not for monetary gain.
CC BY-NC-SA (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike): This can be shared, used, and modified, if the new work and any changes made aren't for monetary gain, and the piece is shared with the original license.
CC BY-NC-ND: (Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivatives): This can be shared, as long as it is not used for monetary gain or any derivative made.
Using CC images
It may seem confusing at first glance but using CC imagery is quite easy. Look above this paragraph,and you'll see an example of how we’ve cited the image. You need the name (if known), the creator and the license. Licenses are also permanent so there's no need to worry about them changing on you.
What’s even easier is you can get your images directly from the CC, and they have a quick copy button for up to date citation.
Finding CC images
Keywords are the best way to find CC images. Using your terms followed by 'creative commons' will list quite a few on google.Looking on wikipedia provides a long list but the Creative Commons page is by far the best place to search.
So why not save on your next project and try using some CC images!