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CEU Library, Central European University

Using Images in Your Academic Work

Copyright

This page lists recommended collections of images with licenses allowing use in your work. Be sure to read and comply with the specific license for each image you find.


Public Domain
If an image is in the public domain, you may use it without permission of a copyright holder.

 

Creative Commons Licenses
Images with Creative Commons licenses allow certain types of re-use without asking permission from the copyright holder.

The 6 different Creative Commons licenses tell you what you can do for each type of license. For example, some CC licenses allow you to remix and use commercially, and others don't.

 

Attribution
When you use free images like these, it's still a good idea to provide attribution, even if it's not required.

General image collections

people walking near gray concrete multi-story building, Maria Theresia Palace, Vienna
Photo by Sami Ullah on Unsplash
 

  • Google Images
    Use the “Tools” tab on your results page to limit your search by “usage rights”. Select "Creative Commons licenses." After you select an image, you'll need to check the site it came from to find out which CC license it has.

     
  • Google Images Advanced Search
    Offers more options for filtering your search, such as by color or type (photo, clip art, line drawing). Remember to select Creative Commons licenses under the "usage rights" filter.

     
  • Openverse
    Search for free content in the public domain and under Creative Commons licenses.

     
  • Pexels
    Copyright-free stock images and videos. All content is released under the Pexels license.

     
  • Pixabay
    Copyright-free images and videos. All content is released under the Pixabay license, which makes the content safe to use without asking permission or giving credit to the artist, even for commercial purposes.

     
  • Picsome by Wikimedia
    A project of Wikimedia Deutschland e. V. The application is intended to be the technical successor of their Attribution Generator. They want to make the functionalities contained in the Attribution Generator available on a larger scale and, for example, also usable for images from other repositories.


  • Unsplash
    All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.

     
  • Wikimedia Commons
    Access to media -- including images, sounds and videos -- that has been uploaded by users, mostly for use on Wikipedia. Most of the content is available under some sort of Creative Commons license and licensing information is clearly provided for each item.

Images from museums, libraries, and archives

old museum print of man carrying an elephant on his back going up a hill

Paris Musées
 

  • British Museum Collection Online
    The majority of the 1.9 million object images are available for anyone to use for free under a Creative Commons 4.0 license.
     
  • Europeana
    Images from European libraries, archives, museums and other institutions. Search results can be filtered by copyright status including by specific CC license.

     
  • Library of Congress - Free to Use and Reuse Sets
    Items from the Library's digital collections that are free to use and reuse. The Library of Congress believes that this content is either in the public domain, has no known copyright, or has been cleared by the copyright owner for public use.

     
  • Paris Musées
    Online collection portal to thousands of artworks from 14 City of Paris museums. Over 150,000 images are identified as part of the public domain and available for download and usage.

  • Rijksmuseum
    Images are searchable and downloadable – the item details (acquisition and rights section) will indicate whether the work is in the public domain.

  • Smithsonian Open Access
    Download, share, and reuse millions of the Smithsonian’s images -- both 2D and 3D digital items – from across the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo.

  • Vienna City Library
    Access historical Viennese address books, travel guides, manuscripts from Johann Strauss, Hugo Wolf and more. Digital objects have a CC 1.0 license (public domain). Only available in German.

  • Wien Museum
    In addition to objects related to the city’s history and daily life, the museum has a significant collection of Viennese art. "Open Content" includes all images labelled with a download and share symbol or found using the search function “Open Content”. You can share, reuse, and modify these images for all purposes without asking for permission (including commercial use).

   
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