Creative Commons licences make content more useable. Not just because the licences grant permissive rights to reuse the content, but also because the metadata and rights expression language (REL) that are part of each CC makes them more searchable. The metadata adds information about the licensed work to the file – such as the title, creator, and licensing information – which is machine-readable. This has many useful advantages. For example, search engines can distinguish between CC and “All Rights Reserved” material.

These information guides are designed to help you find CC licensed works. You can do this using many popular search engine and search tools. There are also a number of content repositories that allow you to search their website for CC licensed content. These guides provide step-by-step instructions on how to find the right CC licensed content for your projects.

The short link for this fact sheet is

Finding CC content fact sheets

Specific search tools

Searching for CC materials

To help you easily find reuseable materials, Creative Commons has created a dedicated CC Search portal, The Search portal lets you search for reusable content — based on keyword, licence type and type of material — all from the Creative Commons website.

Google and Yahoo! can also be used to find Creative Commons licensed materials. Using the Creative Commons metadata, both search engines let you filter results by whether the material is available for reuse, and how you want to reuse it, in their advanced search services. If you’re a Mozilla Firefox user you can also find Creative Commons materials using the in-built search tool in the top right hand corner of the toolbar.

For more information on how to find Creative Commons material using these search engines, see our fact sheets listed above.

Sources of CC materials

Finding Creative Commons materials using search engines can sometimes prove to be difficult. If you’re looking for specific types of content sometimes it can be easier to go directly to a website that hosts CC licensed materials of that content type.

Many websites host CC licensed content. The Creative Commons wiki hosts a comprehensive list of known CC content repositories. The table below outlines some good sources of CC material.

Source Description Content types Website
Flickr A photo distribution service with over 90 million CC licensed photos and videos. These can be accessed via the main site or through a dedicated portal. Images, video
Open Photo A moderated photo community with thousands of CC licensed photos in various categories. Images
Picture Australia Australian themed images hosted by the National Library of Australia. Some images are CC licensed or in the public domain. Images
CC Mixter CC sound remix tool and archive. A good source of CC music. All the music on CC Mixter can be remixed Music
Freesound A good source of sound effects and background noises, all available for reuse. Sounds A video sharing site that includes a lot of CC licensed material. Video
Engage Media An Australian-based site which distributes videos about social justice and environmental issues in the Asia Pacific. All videos are CC licensed. Video
ABC Pool A multimedia site run by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that includes lots of CC-licensed user-generated video, music, art and text, as well as increasing amounts of reuseable material from ABC’s own archives. Images, video, music, text

Don’t forget that if you use any CC licensed work you must attribute the creator of the work. For many users of CC material, attribution is one of the hardest parts of the process. We have created a fact sheet designed to help you ensure you are attributing the creator of a CC licensed work in the best possible way.

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