Free Images for Paid eLearning

I'm working on some eLearning courses and videos for a startup and there is zero media budget. This content will be sold.

3 Questions:

- Can someone with a firm grasp on CC provide advice on what I can/can't use for this purpose? 

- Any pointers on where to find such images? I'm aware of Pexels, which is CC0 (I *think* I can use these the same way I'd use stock photos?), and have used Bing image search to find images that can be modified and used commercially (I *think* I can use these as long as I cite them)

- How do you cite CC images? Does it have to be with the image? I'm thinking in eLearning I can add a resources tab, but any ideas for videos? Is it ok to put the info in credits or an accompanying resource page?

 

Thanks in advance for any input!

4 Replies
David Goodman

Rachel - if you intend to sell, the game changes. I believe that you will require a license for the media. For your background look at the license agreements found in Fotolia.com. This may give you some info for your decision and how it might/might not apply to CC use. Do not use images from Google or Bing since you do not know their origins - which may be copyrighted. See searchcreativecommons.org for some info. Here is a snippet of their info:

"Please note that search.creativecommons.org is not a search engine, but rather offers convenient access to search services provided by other independent organizations. CC has no control over the results that are returned. Do not assume that the results displayed in this search portal are under a CC license. You should always verify that the work is actually under a CC license by following the link. Since there is no registration to use a CC license, CC has no way to determine what has and hasn't been placed under the terms of a CC license. If you are in doubt you should contact the copyright holder directly, or try to contact the site where you found the content."

Did you look at the images/photos within SL360? This is my opinion and not legal advice.

Christy Tucker

I know you said you have no budget, but I'll point out that if you're getting paid, they'd be better off buying some credits on CanStockPhoto or 123rf. On the last project where I used CC images, my client spent more on my hourly rate searching for and editing images than she would have if she had just paid the $2-3/image.

For CC purposes, selling content isn't really different from any other commercial use (including creating internal training in a for-profit business). CC-NC and CC-SA licenses are clearly not OK for you to use, which I think you already figured out. I'd probably avoid anything with a "No Derivatives" license too, although if you're using the images completely unedited and uncropped that might be OK.

CC0 should be OK, as should CC-By (attribution only). Attributions are OK on one page at the end of the course. For videos, in the credits at the end plus maybe in the resource page so the links actually work. For attribution, a link is generally preferred to just saying the name of the creator. Ideally, the attribution includes the creator's name plus a link (and maybe the name of the image if there is one).

You can also look for public domain images, such as those in the Flickr Commons. 

The Noun Project has a fantastic collection of icons which you can use with attribution.

This post has links to several sites with free images, most of which are CC0 (but check the licenses yourself). https://css-tricks.com/sites-with-high-quality-photos-you-can-use-for-free/

This post lists several other places where you can search for CC images. I prefer Compfight or searching Flickr's CC images personally, but you'll see that they recommend Bing (with filters) too. As always, check your filters and check the licenses once you actually get to the images. https://www.theedublogger.com/2014/07/09/the-ultimate-directory-of-free-image-sources/

David Tait
Christy Tucker

I know you said you have no budget, but I'll point out that if you're getting paid, they'd be better off buying some credits on CanStockPhoto or 123rf. On the last project where I used CC images, my client spent more on my hourly rate searching for and editing images than she would have if she had just paid the $2-3/image.

Christy's right, it's sometimes false economy scratching around for freebies when you could get premium images for such a small amount. 

I'm not their biggest fan but iStockphoto have reasonably priced monthly subscriptions.