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Copyright Guidance at The University of Manchester: Finding free stuff

A copyright guidance resource for staff, students and researchers at The University of Manchester

Finding free stuff

There are many sources of free-to-use content available online. This page provides suggestions on where to look for such content, especially if used for non-commercial educational purposes. So whether you are a student creating a presentation, an academic developing teaching materials, or a researcher looking for Open Access articles there is plenty of content you can take advantage of without the need to obtain permission from the relevant copyright owner.

Remember, if material has been licenced for reuse, make sure you check the terms of use for any material you find, as these will vary. Some material may be in the Public Domain, where copyright has expired or been waived by the creator. As a general rule you should always acknowledge/attribute the creator of any material you reuse as best academic practice.

If you have any questions about finding free stuff online then email us at:

Finding free images

This section lists some sites you can use to find free-to-use images. Many of them are Creative Commons licenced, or in the public domain. Remember to check the terms of use for any image you find, as these will vary.

Finding Open Educational Resources (OERs)

OERs are learning materials of all types which can be used and reused freely by educators. The OER Handbook wiki has a compilation of links and information about OERs. Materials are also available in the OER Commons, and the Creative Commons website also provides information on Education / OER resources for you to use too.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons provides an alternative to conventional copyright protection. It allows people who create content to attach licences to their work, making it explicit that it can be re-used.

Creative Commons helps you publish your work online whilst letting others know exactly what they can and can't do with your work. With a Creative Commons licence, you keep the copyright but allow people to copy and distribute your work provided they give you credit, and only on the conditions you specify.

From the Creative Commons website you can search for materials that can be re-used without needing to request permission.

Finding Open Access materials

Open Access (OA) means that items of scholarly work are made available online, in a digital format, at no charge to the reader and with limited restrictions on re-use. Below is a list of resources which will help you discover and use OA works, for your research and/or teaching. For more information on Open Access visit our Understanding Open Access pages.

The Copyright Cortex

This online resource is dedicated to copyright and digital cultural heritage. It is mainly aimed at archives and museums as it provides libraries, archives, museums with information and expert commentary on how copyright law affects the creation and management of digital cultural heritage. This resource is likely to be helpful for Special Collections users, and anyone who works in the field of Digital Humanities. "

Creative Commons Licence This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence.