There are thousands of photos, videos, fonts, music, and other creative assets available for use on the internet. These resources are completely free and can be used for personal or commercial purposes. How is that possible, and where do we find all this free stuff? Well, dear reader, answering those questions is what this post is all about!
Public Domain and Creative Commons
The "free stuff" I'm talking about is anything that is part of the public domain or has been released under a Creative Commons license.
The public domain consists of all the creative work that has no exclusive intellectual property rights. In other words, no one owns it. The rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or are otherwise inapplicable. Anything that exists in the public domain can be used in whatever way you want and no one can say otherwise.
Creative Commons is an American non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to legally use and share. There are six standard CC licenses.
Creators releasing CC content grant permission for others to use their work, sometimes under certain conditions (depending on the license they chose). The CC0 license means "no rights reserved"; any work released under CC0 is in the public domain. Conditions on other licenses include things like attribution (meaning you have to give credit to the original creator) and non-commercial only (meaning you can't profit monetarily from use of the original work.) Check the license of any CC asset to make sure you understand its use conditions.
The websites listed below have content from the public domain, Creative Commons, or is otherwise free to use.
- ClipArt Etc - vintage-looking, not all are vector
- Open Clipart Library
- PD Clipart
- Public Domain Vectors
- 1001 Fonts
- DaFont - almost all fonts here are free for personal use; read the authors' comments per font for commercial use & attribution info
- Font Squirrel
- Hype for Type - adjust sorting to "Lowest to Highest" to find free fonts
- Google Fonts - web fonts, so good to use for online stuff
- Flat Icon
- Font Awesome
- Icon Finder - this is an aggregate site; each icon collection has its own license.
- The Noun Project
- Free Music Archive
- Free Music Public Domain - music is free for personal use; commercial use requires purchasing a license
- Free Sound
- Free Soundtrack Music - free and paid content
- FreePD - free and paid content
- International Music Score Library Project
- Musopen - also has sheet music and textbooks
- Public Domain Information Project
- Videvo - also has video
- Youtube Audio Library
- Compfight - searches for CC licensed photos on Flickr
- Every Stock Photo - an aggregate that searches over 21 million images. Since images are pulled from different sources, multiple licenses are represented.
- Fancy Crave
- Foodies Feed - all photos are CC0 licensed photos of food
- Foter - searches for CC licesned photos on Flickr
- Free Food Photos
- Free Images
- Free JPG
- Free Nature Stock
- Good Stock Photos
- ISO Republic
- IM Creator
- Library of Congress
- Life of Pix
- Little Visuals
- Moveast - travel blog
- New Old Stock - all vintage, mostly black and white images
- Photostocked Editor
- Pick Up Image
- Pikwizard - some photos have usage conditions
- RGB Stock
- Smithsonian Open Access
- Snapwire Snaps - blog
- Stock Up
- Tineye - lets you search by color
- Travel Coffee Book - travel blog