Where free and legal to take multimedia content? 10 best services

Any work must be paid, whether it is a painting by an artist, furniture made by the carpenter, the clothes sewed by a tailor. Seems to be a simple truth that anybody does not cause objections. However, in recent years, it has caused a heated debate and numerous court proceedings on the issues of who should pay whom and for what. Not the last role in this difficult situation was played by technological progress, for which the issue of the right to intellectual property has become particularly relevant. To steal someone else’s work now is much easier than half a century ago. And these are not only unfair to fans “pirated” content, but also a separate copyright owners.

Skillfully using a legal basis for recovering damages in favor of the holders, savvy attorneys and lawyers sometimes make money literally out of thin air. And fall into their trap any unwary user. For example, you posted in his blog a clip of your favorite artist, pasted in a magazine article a photograph found in the search, accompanied by a popular melody made a presentation and so on. In all these cases, you can get in trouble when the copyright owner published photos will require you to reimburse him for the damage. Here is a small example from personal experience.

Five years ago in a personal blog, we have written a story about a young canadian photographer and showed his unusual work, putting in the publication authorship and a link to his website. The publication was positive, so we were very surprised when some time later received a letter from canadian. He actually sent the text of the lawsuit, claiming that we caused the publication of the damage to his reputation (how exactly, he did not disclose). A similar letter he sent to the hosting company and in several institutions (except that in “sports lottery” is not written). We immediately removed the publication and tried to find a common language with the photographer and apologize, and in proof of his “good intentions” sent translation of the article into English. However, after his second letter, we understand that, immediately removing this note, we have done very well and the dialogue with that person will not work. He insisted that damage to reputation was the fact that we have published information about him without his knowledge. Well, the creative person often weird, and we should respect their quirks. So we wished good luck to the young talent, and so the matter ended. All this we say that the case could turn out differently — hoster was ready to block the website because of the accusations of copyright infringement, a lawsuit could cause lengthy disputes, fines and so on.

Not to get into a similar situation, should pay attention to the choice of multimedia content, especially before you publish to the Internet. First and foremost is to understand the basic types of licenses. You have probably seen the phrase “Creative Commons”.

It could accompany the description of the software or placed in the terms of use of any web service. Creative Commons is a charitable organization with the primary goal to create a license group, which would simplify the procedure for the distribution of content from authors to users. These licenses come in different types, such as free and unfree, in addition, each type of Creative Commons license stipulates certain conditions under which the author allows to use your content. The essence of Creative Commons is that in them the “human language” explained the rules of borrowing content. For example, the author can allow users of your content to distribute it, or, conversely, to retain the right to prohibit further distribution to third parties. Thanks to this system the principles of distribution of specific content are obvious and understandable to everyone.

The sources of legal images

So where do you find free legitimate multimedia content? Let’s start with the image search.

“Images Google“filter by license type

Oddly enough, the simple solution lies on the surface — the popular search engine Google can sometimes solve the problem of searching for images approved for publication without any conditions. Usually, when a user searches for images he rarely uses a filter, selecting in the best case, results on resolution and format. But if you look to the search tools, you can see that Google allows you to filter the results according to the license, which is subject to image.

Licenses under which content is distributed online, a lot, and at first, they can be easily confused. But in the settings of the search engine all the above absolutely clear: “With the license to use, license to use and modify, With a license to use and modify for non-commercial purposes” and so on.

This search method is simple, convenient and obvious, but perfect is not one of them. If you ever try to find with Google free images, you may be disappointed — most often a list of found photographs and illustrations is very poor and sometimes impossible to find the desired plot. You can try to be creative in the preparation phrase of the search query and “break” with a dozen other synonyms, but this is unlikely to solve the problem. However, there are other options.

FindAPhoto — directory of free photostocks

This service was created by the British developer by the name of David Barker (David Barker). He gathered together a collection of images from the following free photostocks: MMT, Free Nature Stock, Life of Pix, Unsplash, Skitter Photo Realistic Shots, Startup Stock Photos, Picography, Barn Images, Jay Mantri.

The author has supplemented the resulting library and organized a very convenient search. All of the photos displayed on the service FindAPhoto, as well as on stock sites, where they were taken, distributed under license Creative Commons Zero (CC0) which means the transmission of content in the public domain, and therefore makes it suitable for commercial use. In other words, you can do with your photos whatever you want, and for you it will be nothing.

Library service FindAPhoto includes thousands of images, which for convenience is classified by tags or collections. For example, the collection of light rays includes photographs, which is very effectively displayed the play of light are beautiful light ghosting fixed volumetric rays and so on.

Of particular interest is the search function for the photos in color. When selecting pictures for the “cap” of the site, as well as in the preparation of any layout a designer has to take into account the color palette of the main elements of the design. So the image is not good anytime, but only in certain colors. On the main page FindAPhoto you can see a set of shades. Each shade is a reference to its collection, which is dominated by shades of colors that are similar to the specified.

Also available is the option of keyword search query (example: need pictures of a clock — enter the Clock and choose any image). Besides the obvious principle of search engines, you can also use a simple syntax with attributes to simplify the search. For example, the search query –saturation of 0 will filter the image with zero color value, that is, black-and-white photograph. Request a long close-up color –orange –width > height 3000 — > 4000 shows pictures with orange hues from the collection of macro photos with size over 3000 points in width and more than 4,000 points in height.

FindAPhoto invites all who wish to join the repository of images stored on the platform GitHub. The disadvantage of this service is that, unlike the sources that he uses FindAPhoto not updated promptly.

StockSnap — free photos with the

Service StockSnap organized two enthusiast — Marc Chouinard Christopher Gimmer. They are hand-selected for your project photos and claim that their selection includes only the best free work. Update the image database (if you believe the developers) regularly, hundreds of photos weekly collection StockSnap. The content published on the website, is distributed under the same Creative Commons Zero (CC0).

The theme of the images is quite monotonous. It’s hard to find a creative illustration, the images, no collages, or works made with the help of a graphical editor, and especially to rendered 3D images. All image — only photography as-is. But StockSnap pleased with the variety of shooting a subject, and offers a lot of really beautiful pictures of nature. This is a great place to find pictures for drawing, say, a travel site, cooking web resource portal on the animals.

On the website there is a possibility, however no visible benefits of registered users we have not found. Obviously, this service was created as a support for another project the same developer — an online graphic editor Snappa.

Pixabay — the largest free microstock

It is no exaggeration to say that Pixabay is one of the best sources of free multimedia content in the Network.

The service is able to look not only photos but also vector images. In addition, via Pixabay you can find a collection of footage — themed short movies. Video support added to Pixabay relatively recently, so the base clips at the moment small.

The service provides a lot of professional pictures of different genres — from portraiture to landscape works. All images are of exceptionally high quality, and the number of photos posted on the service is half a million.

Stock video plays directly in the search results: you just point at the desired image, the cursor — and it “comes alive”. By clicking on the link, you can once again view it in the Vimeo player, choose quality of the downloaded file. In the archives of the service have the clips with a resolution of up to 4K.

To exist on the solid enthusiasm of such a large project, of course, can not, therefore, not surprising that the site has a sponsor. It may sound strange, but the main sponsor Pixabay is its direct competitor — the popular microstock Shutterstock. The meaning of this Alliance becomes clear when you see the first image in the search results on Pixabay — this is not free photos, and watermarked images from paid stock photography.

By the way, search on Pixabay done very carefully. You can Refine the query only collections of photos, only illustrations, only according to the vector layout or videofootage.

Join the community Pixabay and help service your free photographs can be anyone — you just need to register. The service accepts formats are JPG, PNG, PSD, AI and SVG to 40 MB, no smaller than 1920 pixels on one side and video clips, MPEG, MOV, AVI to 300 MB and a minimum resolution of 1280 × 720 pixels. Clips must be shorter than 60 seconds.

However, in a collection of legal content is not everything — must undergo pre-moderation. The owners of the service monitor the quality of the published material and put forward specific requirements for the uploaded data. For newbies to the site even published detailed guidance that describes the principles of selection of material and the typical mistakes beginner artists. This is very useful information that will be useful not only for use Pixabay, but for any other service stock video and photos.

Legal sources of music and recordings

With pictures we understand. And what about music? This kind of art is appreciated far more photos, so you can find free audio recordings that could be legally used in their projects, much more difficult.

Purple Planet — free music from the authors

Many musicians are ready to give you their work free to use for commercial purposes. An example of such “altruism” can serve as project Purple Planet English musicians Chris Martyn, Geoff Harvey and Mark Fildes. On their website they lay out their own music and suggest everyone to use these creations, with only one tiny condition — to make a link to the official website Purple Planet.

The variety of music is quite diverse. There are jazz tunes, and light ambient music, and depressing soundtrack-style horror, optimistic and upbeat, and other genres.

If the tracks you’ll like so much that you’ll want to use them without attribution, the musicians are ready to consider that option (for a nominal price that is listed on the website).

Josh Woodward — free music for all

A time when the promotion of a musician you had to have connections for radio and television, are fading. Online today, any talented artist can Express themselves. The online audience is the most objective judge. If the material is good, and the popularity of this artist is not far off. Remember the hype around the cover version of Somebody That I Used to Know performed by the young group Walk off the Earth? This clip only on the official channel of the group looked 168 million times! And the band itself since the release of his first hit, received a powerful incentive to continue, which she successfully does. Similar examples of the sudden popularity can cause a lot.

Josh Woodward also refers to the new generation of musicians, who earn their talent, not with the help of black PR. On the official website of Josh published hundreds of his songs. “You can download absolutely free of charge, without fear that you’ll sue,” writes the musician in your blog. The only thing he asks in return is to tell as many friends about the song, send an email to make sharing to social network. Not so much for the pleasure of music. And we see no reason why not to.

In the framework of The Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase 10.10 one of the songs Josh even won a contest and was included in the build of the popular Linux distribution. Most interesting is that, according to the musician, his work is well paid off — the number of downloads of his compositions in the millions.

Musopen — an immortal classic in free access

A win-win for any musical accompaniment is the use of classical works. This music is time-tested, beautiful and… not free. Right on the very piece of music can belong to the descendants of the composer. Regulations regarding this are different. For example, in Canada, the music goes into the public domain fifty years after the death of the author of a musical masterpiece, in Russia, this period of seventy years (legislation changes, so in any case — check). In principle, given the fact that the great classics like Strauss departed in the other world a hundred or more years ago, their work has already passed into the public domain. However, finding free classical music is a problem, because records will be someone executed. When you purchase a recording of, say, the London Philharmonic orchestra plays classical pieces, you pay for the work of the conductor, members of the team, engineer and so on.

Enthusiasts of the project Musopen came up with an interesting solution to the problem. With the motto to make music free” (“set music free”), they launched their campaign on the most popular platform for raising funds Kickstarter.

Aaron Dunn (Aaron Dunn) — the founder of Musopen project

In the description of the campaign stated that the masterpieces created by Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and other brilliant composers, should belong to the people. The easiest way to do this is to hire a famous band, to pay the team certain amount, so he played classical pieces and transferred the rights to their records. Further, the enthusiasts Musopen took the responsibility to publish these records in the public domain, so anyone could listen to classical music. The money was collected without any problems, it turned out that the final amount six times greater than the requested “bar”.

Several years later, the team Musopen repeated successful Kickstarter campaign, having collected the required amount to record all the works of Frederic Chopin.

To the Musopen project could exist offline, the site has added a number of paid services. Now in free mode you can upload up to five songs a day, and those in MP3 format. For those who purchase a paid account, the service opens the record in losseless format and removes the restrictions to download files. Also on Musopen can I find musical notation of classical works in PDF format. In addition, the site has also become a platform for those wishing to get a musical education is a kind of exchange of music teachers, plus guidance on selection of musical instruments.

What to collected music library, they are all carefully sorted by composers and genres. You can search for a melody by instrument type or by author name, specifying the time period or selecting accurate title. Library resource uses a rating system that determines the quality of the recording audio. The fact is that, in addition to the “purchased” music tracks, music library, Musopen many concerts and Amateur recordings, also have digitized vinyl. Therefore, the quality of many tracks is far from ideal.

Jamendo catalog of free music for any taste

The project Jamendo was one of the first attempts to create a platform for music distribution that focuses on aspiring musicians. The name of the service is derived from the fusion of two musical terms — “jam session” (jamsession) and crescendo (crescendo). Jam session is a “musical party”, where the musicians communicate with each other and improvising, and the musical term crescendo means an increase in sound power.

To date, the owners of the service have positioned it as the “largest digital service for free music”. To be honest, quite so “free music” on this service is almost there. Rather, it is, the only question is, what is considered a free music — if a copyright owner permits others to use it for non-commercial purposes, the value of audio as the working material in business projects, loss.

The principle of the service is very simple — musicians publish their works, and visitors can listen to their creations with the built-in player interface. If the album or track you like, use them to purchase the support of the musician. It is worth to note that, although the available musical works and distributed under a Creative Commons license, most of the material is prohibited for commercial use. So before you download please read type of license for this track you given. Like many other sites where posted content with a Creative Commons license, next to the description of the published content, you can find a number of intuitive icons, graphical symbols, allowing for visual assessment restrictions on the distribution of music.

Base music Jamendo includes almost half a million musical compositions. Any music lover will just want to dig into this collection. Famous names on Jamendo, you will not find, but to find some young talent like David Lostan (Löhstana David) can be easily.

Well, for those who are looking for legal music for commercial use, you should consider the option of purchasing a license, Jamendo, especially since the service is actively working in this direction and is ready not only to take care of all the issues on settlement of disagreements with regional organizations on the protection of copyright, but also to provide recommendation services to find compilations for background music in cafes, bars, hairdressers and other establishments.

Soundcloud — a social platform for musicians and music lovers

The Soundcloud platform can be considered a direct competitor to Jamendo. This service also provides the link between musicians and their listeners, in an effort to create more community.

Compared to Jamendo, Soundcloud interface more friendly, more convenient search. Even the player itself has a more attractive appearance — right in its window displays the waveform of the signal to which you can attach comments to a particular place of the track. And to estimate the amount of material stored on the servers of Soundcloud, just look at the list of remixes and cover versions of some popular tunes, for example, Made me realize Brad Breeck from which is used as the title theme of the TV series Gravity Falls. The number of variations on this theme so great, that it seems that the imagination of the musicians has no limits.


The relationship between the consumer and the holders of intellectual property rights has always been and remains very complex. Therefore, the appearance of the above-described services is truly a breath of fresh air for those who want to follow the letter of the law and to feel protected from the selfish barrator. We’re optimists, so we sincerely believe that the issue of the right to intellectual property will ultimately be resolved with benefits for both sides — both for authors who legitimately want to obtain the money owed to them, and for users who do not have to pay for everything. Otherwise, we will face a dystopia — we will come to situation when you have to pay for what whistling is heard on the radio a song, walking in the street.

And yet when using free images, and music files in your projects you should always be careful. Creative Commons license is not a license to unlimited use. For example, the current six major Creative Commons licenses require that you specify information about the author. So, the authorship is still better to specify. If you put the author’s name in the credits with thanks for the free materials it will be true. And yet we should not forget that the license does not apply to the subject.

Source: 3dnews.ru

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