Mar 6, 2014

Where can you find images you can *easily* add to your classes? (without getting into trouble)

Since this was post was published in 2014, it was updated December 2017 with a minor change in how you "check" if an image is "ok" to use (step 3 below). 

What do we mean by "easy to use" images? Public domain images.

What is a Public domain image? An image that is not just available to the public, but belongs to the public.  It's been donated by the artist or its copyrights have expired or don't apply. The image below was donated by the photographer to the public, no strings attached.

Springtime flower scene
De Lente in de tuin by Petr Kratochvil (CC0 1.0 Universal-Public Domain Dedication)
What's good about Public domain images?
  • You don't have to pay for the right to use the images.
  • You don't have to get permission from the image creators to use the images.
  • You don't have to give credit to the creator of the images (but it's nice if you do). If you use images with Creative Commons licenses, available at locations such as Creative Commons Search, at a minimum, you must give credit to the artist.
Where can you easily find Public domain images? Bing Images at

How do you search Bing Images for Public domain images? 
  1. At Bing Images, type in your search term, such as spring and press Enter.
  2. To the far right, next to SafeSearch, click on the Filter icon. A toolbar with drop down arrows will appear; click on License; click on Public domain.
  3. Once you see an image you like, click on the image.  Below the image, in the left hand corner, to check out if it's ok to use, click on the link to it's web site, such as
  4. Scroll around a bit to make sure the license for the image is public domain or CC0, which is also "No Rights Reserved". 
  5. Once you know the image license is public domain or CC0, you can right-click on the image, left-click on Save image as: a) Type in a name, and b) pick a location to store your image.
  6. You can update the image if you like, and use it where ever you like, such as uploading it to your Sakai site Resources area. Display it by using Lessons and the Sakai Text Editor, image tool. 
  7. Note: Each time you perform a search, you MUST click on License and click on Public Domain, otherwise, you'll see images that are copyrighted and/or have creative commons licenses.
Why can't you search Google Images or Bing Images, and use any image you like?

Even if you're an instructor, usually the images are copyrighted:  
  1. You may have to pay for the image or get permission from the web site/image owner, or 
  2. If the image has a Creative Commons license, such as free to share and use, you must give credit to the image artist, at a minimum, as outlined by Creative Commons.   
Resources: Bing's help with filtering images by license type 
Three Good Places to find Public Domain Images

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