Six Top Sources for Free Images, Video, and Audio | Cool Tools

I’ve written about a number of video, audio, and collage creation tools, with WeVideo, Audacity, andPicMonkey topping some of my lists. However, it can be a challenge for students to locate copyright-friendly media when using these tools for presentations or idea sharing. It’s always best for students to create materials or use ones that are in the public domain. Here are some of the best resources I’ve found for the latter.


Copyright-cleared video is challenging to track it down. Fortunately, there are some great places to locate it. The Moving Image Archive within the Internet Archive is an index of more than 1.7 million video clips. Most of what you’ll see can be downloaded in a variety of file formats. Search the archive by keyword or browse through the many categories and thematic collections.

SLJ1504-TK-CT-PublicDomainThe Public Domain Review website features collections of images, books, essays, audio recordings, and films that are in the public domain. Search any collection for materials according to date, style, genre, and rights. Directions for downloading and saving media are included in each collection.


Students creating podcasts often need a little bit of bumper music for the intro or wrap up of their recordings. They should check out the Free Music Archive (FMA). It provides free, high-quality music in a wide range of genres, and the content is under various creative commons licenses. Initially funded by the New York State Music Fund, the FMA seeks to sustain high-quality materials vetted by curators who approve or deny all submissions to the collection. Anyone can download FMA music for use in podcasts, videos, and other digital presentation formats. The music collections can be searched by genre or curator.


Should your students be seeking common sounds like doorbells ringing, dogs barking, or car horns honking, they could try to record them live—or turn to SoundGator for free, downloadable recordings. They can browse through 23 recording categories to find the perfect sound. You have to register on SoundGator to download recordings, but after that, they can be used over and over.


If your students are looking for public domain pictures, direct them to the Morgue File and Pixabay. The Morgue File photo collection contains thousands of images that anyone can use for free in academic or commercial presentations. The collection can be searched by subject category, image size, color, or rating. You’ll find a mix of images that don’t require attribution, along with some that do—so pay attention to the labels with each picture. The Morgue File also features a “classroom” where visitors can learn photography techniques and get tips about image editing.


Pixabay hosts thousands of high-resolution, public domain images. Search by using keywords, or simply browse through the library of images. When you find one you like, you can download it in the size that suits your needs. Users who don’t register with the site can still download, but they have to enter a CAPTCHA code first.

The next time your students embark on a multimedia creation project or presentation, steer them toward these sources—chances are, they’ll like knowing they’re in the clear.

This article was published in School Library Journal‘s April 2015 issue. Subscribe todayand save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Richard ByrneAbout Richard Byrne
Richard Byrne ( writes the award-winning blog “Free Technology for Teachers.”