In January, we heard Barbara Ingrassia caution us about copyright infringement if we freely use an image that we find on the web.
There are, however, countless resources of images, including drawings, photographs, music, and videos that are free to use either because the copyright has expired or because they’ve been release under a Creative Commons license. (More about Creative Commons in a moment.)
One delightful source of material in the public domain is the aptly-titled Public Domain Review. I recently stumbled upon a reference to The Drolatic Dreams of Pantagruel and discovered a collection a very odd-looking musical demons.
There are many other sketches in this exhibit, all coming from an anonymously published book from 1565. If you’d like to know more, this video, The Demon Doodles of 1565, gives some hints, but no conclusive explanation about the artist.
Along with items whose copyright has lapses are materials that are intentionally made available for free. Technically, they are still protected by copyright, but the copyright holders have added a special license call a Creative Commons license that stipulates free use, subject to the terms of the license. You can read more about those license terms here. Look for this logo or one of its siblings on the website or in the document.
You can find images that are available under Creative Commons licenses with your Google or Bing search.
In Google Image Search, click Tools and choose Creative Commons. When using Bing, click Filter and then Creative Commons licenses. Bing also offers a search of images in the public domain.
Here is an example of a search for images of “pigeons sitting” with a Creative Commons license.