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Image Resources: Public Domain / Creative Commons

Yale University's Arts Library Digital Services guide to digital image resources.


Public domain and creative commons refer to an image's copyright restrictions. Public Domain refers to sources that are openly available for reuse, while Creative Commons refers to licenses with various levels of use and remix restrictions. Visit the copyright and fair use page for more details on these topics. 

Note: Don't forget attribution! Even if an image is in the public domain, proper attribution is recommended. 

In the Public Domain: Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother"

Lange, Dorothea, photographer. Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California. California Nipomo San Luis Obispo County United States, 1936. Feb. or Mar. Photograph.

Public Domain

Images considered in the public domain may be used without copyright restriction. Proper attribution is recommended for all images, including those in the public domain. 

Finding Images in the Public Domain

Explore over one million images from the British Library including illustrations, maps, photographs and more available for download without copyright restriction.

The Getty has made available more than 100,000 public domain images from their collection.

This page features thousands the Library’s digital collections that are free to use and reuse.

Thousands of images from the Met collections, many of which can be download and used. Search for Open Access Artworks for public domain images.

51,000 open access images available for download from the National Gallery of Art collections.

This site is dedicated to showcasing works in the public domain.

Millions of user-created and contributed images available for use. Check the license details for reuse and attribution requirements.



Creative Commons

  Creative Commons

Many images are made available via Creative Commons licenses, with various levels of use and remix restrictions. Detailed information about Creative Commons is available in the Using Copyrighted Works guide. These quick links cover the basics:

Finding Images with Creative Commons Licenses

A robust search engine for finding images with creative commons licenses. You can limit your search based on license type and use.

Millions of digital images, artworks, books, music and more from European museums, galleries and libraries. Each image record includes information on the license type—many images are available for download and use.

Many Flickr users have applied Creative Commons’ licenses to their work. You can browse and search based on license type.

Millions of user-created and contributed images available for use. Check the license details for reuse and attribution requirements.