VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Multimodal Assignments

Find and Using Free Multimodal Content

Copyright 101

Copyright is a set of laws that protect creators of content from having that content republished without their permission. Creative work is automatically copyrighted to the person who made it as soon as it is created. When something is copyrighted, you cannot use it unless the person who made it says it is ok.

Your multimodal projects may not violate copyright. Use only properly licensed images, video, etc., or content that you produce yourself. The most common copyright violation students perform is by using copyrighted music in their videos or podcasts. Make sure that any content you use that you did not create is available to you under Creative Commons or other licensing. For more information, please see the guides to Copyright for Undergraduates, Copyright for Graduate StudentsCopyright for Faculty, and the Guide to Using Creative Commons.

 

Using Creative Commons

So how do you find material that you can use in your project? The best and easiest way is finding works that are licensed in such a way that you can use them for free. Creative Commons and Public Domain are two types of work that you should look for.

Creative Commons is a type of licensing that creators of content can apply to their own work so that other people can use them. If something is CC-licensed, it means that other people are allowed to republish and sometimes reuse the work. The CC-search tool is useful to search many sites for CC-licensed content. Not all Creative Commons work is available for use for every project. Creators can decide if the work can only be used for non-commerical projects or if it cannot be edited at all. Learn more about kinds of CC licenses. Also see the Guide to Using Creative Commons.

 

Citation

Citation in a multimodal project is just as important as in a traditional paper. Find out more about citing and creating a Works Cited page.

Finding Sounds and Music

Download licensed or public domain sound for inclusion in your video. Capture audio from your browser using tools like Chrome Audio Capture.
 
Creative Commons Search Use this multimedia search engine to find various types of CC-licensed items from sources including Google Images, Soundcloud, Jamendo, Flickr and more.
Free Sound A collaborative database of CC-licensed sound. Freesound focuses on sound and sound effects, not music
Archive.org Non-profit digital library with collections of digitized free movies, music, images, websites and more
Free Music Archive Interactive library of CC-licensed music grouped by genre, directed by WFMU, the longest-running freeform radio station in the United States.  | 
ccMixter CC-licensed music for film, video and games  | 
CCTrax CC-licensed music grouped by genre  | 
Incompetech CC-licensed and royalty-free music from one composer. Must provide credit to the composter, Kevin MacLeod.  | 
Soundcloud Audio-sharing site with a decent amount of CC-licensed music  | 
Moby Gratis Music released by electronic musician Moby. The music is free as long as it's being used in a non-commercial or non-profit project.  | 
Jamendo A huge free music library, all CC-licensed so you can modify, adapt and build on most works

Finding Images and Photographs

Use the filter search feature on each site to find CC-licensed content. 
 
Creative Commons Search  A Creative Commons search portal that provides convenient access to CC-searches on sharing sites
Archive.org Non-profit digital library with collections of digitized free movies, music, images, websites and more
Flickr CC A large image-hosting site with professional and amateur photographs  | 
Wikimedia Commons Online repository of free-use images, sound and other media files
Pixabay Community for sharing copyright free images and videos. All contents are released under Creative Commons CC0 which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist.
Google CC Image Search Search for various kinds of Creative Commons licensed images through a Google Image Search filter. We recommend "Reuse with modification" for most class projects.
NASA Media Archive Images, audio and video recordings related to space flight, astronomy and aeronautics created by NASA, most of which are not copyrighted.
Perry-CastaƱeda Library Maps that can be downloaded or organized by theme. Most are public domain or licensed for non-commercial use.

Finding Video

Use the filter search feature on each site to find CC-licensed content. Many media platforms, including YouTube, allow you to embed copyrighted content on your blog or website as long as you use their player to play the content. 
 
Creative Commons Search Use this multimedia search engine to find various types of CC licensed items from sources such as Google Images, Fotopedia, Jamendo, Flickr and more.
YouTube The largest video-sharing website, which allows users to upload, view, share and find videos  | 
Internet Archive Non-profit digital library with collections of digitized free movies, music, images, websites and more. Check out VJ Loops for short, stylizer, loopable videos.
Vimeo Video-sharing website, more focused on high-quality creative content  | 
Google Video Use the Google Video search to browse the web for videos not necessarily hosted on YouTube  | 
NASA Media Archive Images, audio and video recordings related to space flight, astronomy and aeronautics created by NASA, most of which are not copyrighted.
Videvo    |