Great LEGAL Sources For Digital Content


by Tim Cushman 


“If content is king, copyright is its castle” was a statement recently made in a keynote address by Sumner Redstone, the chairman of Viacom and CBS.  He added, “Copyright compels creativity, it furnishes the incentive to innovate. If you limit the protection of copyright, you stifle the expression of self.  The time and effort spent creating and the months spent producing, marketing and distributing content is an investment; it is not intended to be a donation.”  (Source:

Not everyone agrees with Mr. Sumner.  Many believe that the proliferation of digital media through the medium of the Internet has changed the way the world communications and that traditional copyright must be updated to keep pace.  Not to mention that many owners of content view fair use far differently from consumers.  Enter Creative Commons.  Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that allows artists to legally release some or all of their rights to their content without all of the restrictions of current copyright law.  The spirit of those involved with Creative Commons can be summarized this way: use, share, improve; just do not sell my work for a profit (do review the licensing).  The implication for teachers is unfettered access to content without fear of breaking copyright law.  Below are sources for content licensed under Creative Commons.  DO PREVIEW CONTENT and strongly consider downloading in advance for your students to use.

Music and Other Audio
Artist Server:
Garage Band:
Pod Show:
The Free Sound Project:

Every Stock Photo:
123RF free stock images section:
Flickr Creative Commons Search:
Open Clipart:

Text and Audiobooks

Creative Common Search Tools
Google Advanced Search: (look for “Usage Rights”)
Wikimedia Commons:
Yahoo Creative Commons Search:




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