Media

Finding Free Images and other Media

While much content on the internet is subject to copyright laws, there are increasing numbers of websites that provide copyright-free content you can use on your blogs at no cost. This page lists several sources.

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What do we mean by 'free media'?

To make a blog post more interesting and increase views and reader engagement, you might consider including some copyright-free content, including photos or artwork to illustrate your blog. You might even consider enhancing your blog posts by adding other types of media like audio files, movies, and even books.

Most free content is either classified as being in the public domain, meaning it is old enough to no longer be subject to copyright laws; copyright-free (also sometimes referred to as copyleft); licensed with GNU Free Documentation, or under one of the Creative Commons licenses for use and redistribution.

Note that much of this free content comes with explicit rules about how it can be used. Often that is simply the stipulation that you credit the original artist and/or the site where it resides. In some cases there may be other restrictions (such as the media cannot be used for commercial purposes), so it’s always a good idea to review the site’s rules or the specific license under which the media is being released before using the material.

We’ve collected a few of our favorite sources for free images. Below are some of the additional options for free media:

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WordPress.com Free Photo Library

Our Free Photo Library contains over 40,000 free, high-quality photos (courtesy of Pexels) right in your WordPress.com Editor. It’s available to every WordPress.com member — for free!

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Openverse

Openverse logo

Openverse is a search engine for openly-licensed media which gives you access to over 600 million Creative Commons licensed and public domain image and audio files. All files can be used free of charge. You can use their search box to find content licensed for commercial use as well as content that may be modified. You can also learn more about how to properly attribute Creative Commons-licensed images.

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The Internet Archive

Internet Archive logo

The Internet Archive, also known as Archive.org, offers free videos, audio, and books that are in the public domain. At WordPress.com we provide documentation both on how to embed video content and on how to embed books from their site.

Here are links to just a few of their many collections:

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Flickr Commons

Flickr logo

Flickr Commons is a site for publicly-held photography collections. As the site explains, they feature images archived by cultural heritage institutions around the world and are endeavoring to make this content more widely available.

For more information, visit the Flickr Commons usage page, which explains both the rights to the media and provides a list of participating institutions, which includes many museums and archives such as the British Library, The Library of Congress and the Smithsonian.

You can also use Compfight to easily search images. Although it’s not affiliated with Flickr, it does search Flickr images with an easy option to find images that are licensed under Creative Commons and free to use with attribution.

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Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons logo

Wikimedia Commons is a massive database of freely usable media, featuring the media used in all Wikimedia projects, including Wikipedia.

For more information on the usage of media from Wikimedia Commons, please see their documentation on reusing material outside of Wikimedia.

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Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg logo

Project Gutenberg is a non-profit organization that makes books and other literary materials available free of charge. Most of their materials are now in the public domain, meaning the text and associated illustrations may be used free of charge. They are now also including copyrighted materials, which will fall under different licensing. For more information,  you can view their licensing information.

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Unsplash

All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.

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If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, you can use a custom search in Google.

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Uploading and Properly Citing Media

We have a variety of guides for uploading images, video, audio, and documents. If your intended media file requires attribution, please follow this handy guide.

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