Aug 6

Free/Open Music, Images, Films, Books, & A Short Background of “Free”

People publish many resources like music, pictures, videos under different Creative Commons licenses, and several old pictures etc. have been freed into the public domain. Some public domain pictures, like the one below, are very intriguing. They give a glimpse into how the world was more than a hundred years back. And there's also a romantic association about these having been "freed" from copyright—like humans having learned to fly. 

I’ve had a “free” folder on my desktop, in which I’ve saved several “open source” resources (links to music, videos, images, books) over time. These come in handy for creating blog posts, courses, podcasts, videos and so on. I'm sharing some links from that folder in this post. Before that a bit on "free/open" resources.

Jess_Dixon_in_his_flying_automobileI've been using the terms "free" and "open" interchangeably. It was, however, only recently that I realized the bifurcation and the philosophical difference between “free” (as it relates to software) and “open source”. Here it is, from the father of the free movement, Richard Stallman: 

“These freedoms are vitally important. They are essential, not just for the individual users' sake, but for society as a whole because they promote social solidarity—that is, sharing and cooperation. They become even more important as our culture and life activities are increasingly digitized. In a world of digital sounds, images, and words, free software becomes increasingly essential for freedom in general.” 

Free vs. Open from R. Stallman in this link:

And a beautiful talk on “people having the right to produce for the love of what they’re doing, and not for the money” from the architect of the Creative Commons license, Lawrence Lessig: 


Some resources: 

Music Resources

Good music can liven up your course, training, game whatever it is that you do in this industry. Match the music to the mood of the activity to create magic with these resources: 

Probably the most commonly known and used sites for CC music:

As the name suggests, for different kinds of remixed creative commons music, use:

A good stock of creative commons license with the license type clearly listed at the bottom of the page:


Image Resources

We all could do with free images in the e-learning circles. What’s amazing is that sometimes CC images are more candid and life like and communicate much better than the stock images that we pay to use. 

Easiest hack to find CC0 or CC images is to use Google Images - > Click Search Tools -> Select the Usage Rights that suit you best -> Look up the images and be sure to check the license and origin.

Some other image searches that work very well:
Creative Commons Search Engine

Aggregates open source images from several sources:

You can also search the resources listed in the Creative Commons search engine separately. 

This site has several CC0 license images, which means no attribution required and commercial use is possible: 

Icon Finder
Many icons here for free use:

Flickr has a large repository of free images and images under the CC license. Select your use type on the top left side and then search for images.

Wikimedia Commons
“A database of 27,090,353 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute.”


Films and Books Resources

Prelinger Archives where thousands of films are archived and available for reuse.

Project Gutenberg: The aptly named archive has over 49,000 e-books available for download:

Do check the license in each of these resources before you use them. I would love to learn about more resources from you in the box below.    



Image of Attempt to Fly: Kobel Feature Photos (Frankfort, Indiana) / State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, via Wikimedia Commons


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