It is important for students and teachers to understand, recognize, and honor Copyrighted images and material. While there are “Fair Use” and “Educational” exemptions to Copyright infringement, I believe it is important to teach students good sources of high quality free images that are clearly designated for reuse. What may start as a classroom assignment, may end up as a monetized video on YouTube with the “Fair Use” or “Educational” exemption no longer applying.
With the increased use of multimedia presentations and digital storytelling in the classroom, finding sources of high quality free images clearly designated for reuse is important. Sourcing images that are appropriate to reuse is not as simple as selecting “Labeled for reuse” in your browser. While this practice can help narrow down results, it is not a guarantee against Copyright issues or having inappropriate images display in results.
Following are some sources of high quality free images that are designated for reuse. Each site has clear rights information to assist in teaching good usage practices. Some have opportunities to participate in, or contribute to their community.
Wikimedia Commons: https://www.commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page Wikimedia Commons is a repository of media created and organized by volunteer contributors. The license conditions of each image is available on the description page. There are opportunities for aspiring photographers to contribute to the repository, and participate in the monthly photo contests. I have enjoyed contributing images to this site and participate in the monthly photo contests. There are over 46 Million media files available. Your students will find high quality images for every topic conceivable.
Rijks Museum: https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/ The Rijks Museum is the museum of the Netherlands with a vision of sharing Art and History. They have a comprehensive collection of Dutch Art and History, as well as European and Asian Art. High resolution images of original art are available for download. This resource may not be appropriate for grades younger than high school because there are images of nudes. It does require that you set up a free account.
NGA: https://images.nga.gov/en/page/show_home_page.html NGA Images is a collection of high resolution digital images of the National Gallery of Art. On this website you can search and download from over 51,000 high quality images. Their Help section provides technical assistance and a downloadable reproduction guide.
The Getty Museum: http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/ The Getty Collections include Antiquities, Sculptures, Paintings, Manuscripts, Drawings and Photographs. All available digital images to which the Getty holds the rights to or that are in the public domain may be downloaded for any purpose without cost or permission required.
Walters Art Museum: http://art.thewalters.org/ Known Internationally, the Walters Art Museum is one of the few museums in the world to represent comprehensive collections of art from the Third Millennium BCE to the early 20th Century. It makes available digital images under Creative Commons CC0 license to waive copyright and allow for unrestricted use.
NASA: https://images.nasa.gov/ The NASA Image and Video Library contains amazing images that are generally not copyrighted. The content may be used for non-commercial educational or informational purposes. This general permission extends to personal Web pages. Be advised the actual NASA logo is protected by copyright and may not be used without permission. NASA provides a comprehensive usage guide on the site.
NOAA: http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/index.html The NOAA collection includes over 32,000 images of weather, space, seas, coastlines, and a wide variety of marine species. Most NOAA photos and slides are in the public domain. There is no fee for downloading any images on the NOAA Photo Library. Educational use is encouraged so students will become mindful of the environment and act responsibly.
Library of Congress https://www.loc.gov/collections/ The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts in its collections. The Library is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. The Digital Collections are available for worldwide use and reuse under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.