How to Google search for Creative Commons licensed resources

Did you know that when you do a Google Search, you can filter your results to only find images, videos, or text that you have permission to use?

To do this, click on the cog or sprocket wheel image for Options (usually found at the far right of the Google search page), and select ‘Advanced Search’.  This works for both a general Advanced Search and for an Advanced Image Search.

Right down the bottom of the page with options to narrow your results is a section on ‘usage rights’.  There are multiple levels of usage rights that Google filters for including:

  • Free to use or share: Allows you to copy or redistribute its content if the content remains unchanged.
  • Free to use, share, or modify: Allows you to copy, modify, or redistribute in ways specified in the license.
  • Commercially: If you want content for commercial use, be sure to select an option that includes the word “commercially.”

Note: Before reusing content, make sure that its license is legitimate and check the exact terms of reuse. For example, the license might require that you give credit to the image creator when you use the image. Google can’t tell if the license label is legitimate, so always go to the source of the image to check the licence.

YouTube user Ben Rimes has created a great video about using the advanced Google Image Search to find creative commons images. .