Finding Copyright Free Images for your Altered Book


Copyright free images are pictures without copyright. In other words, you can use them legally in your art works.

copyright free images

My friend took the pictures used in this book and gave me permission to use them. Therefore, although not copyright free, they are published legally.

Pictures that are copyright free are in the public domain, meaning anyone can use them Please refer to the copyright page on this web site for more information about this complex topic.

Where to Get Copyright Free Images

  1. Create Them Yourself
    Technically speaking, images you create personally are not copyright free, since you own the copyright yourself. Take pictures with a camera, paint, draw, generate an image on the computer... and its yours!

  2. Use Copyrighted Images with Permission
    The majority of the images you find are not copyright free. This applies to postcards, magazines, newspapers, catalogues, junk mail, pictures in books, pictures created by your friends, images captured from video or television, and pictures found on the Internet.

    However, if you have written permission from the copyright holder,then you are free to use the pictures in your projects.

    Sometimes people will give you their okay to use their pictures, as my friend did in the image above.

    Sometimes copyright holders will permit you to use their images under certain conditions -- which could include attributing the source, placing restrictions on how the work can be published and distributed, or in exchange for licensing fees or royalties.

  3. Use Copyright Free Images that are in the Public Domain
    An image reverts to the public domain a number of years after the creator's death (barring other legal implications). The exact number of years differs from country to country. An image can also be in the public domain if its creator has put it there.

    Once an image is in the public domain, you can use it any way you want.

    US citizens will find more information at the US Copyright Office.

Web Sites Containing Copyright Free Images

Please check the terms and conditions at each web site before using their images.

1 Art. Images of oil paintings.
The Messier Catalogue. Images from astronomy.
NASA Photo Gallery
Awesome Clipart for Kids Free to use.
Barry's Clip Art. More free clip art.
Free Pictures of Sharks
Copyright free images.
Images of Abraham Lincoln
Free Stock Photos Excellent stock photos. They ask that you attribute the source if you use them.
Free Sheet Music. Read terms.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Some pictures are available for personal use. Read terms of usage.
American Memory Collections. From the Library of Congress. Some images are copyright free.
New York Public Library Picture Collection. Many images available for private use.
Images from the History of Medicine. Check for terms and restrictions.
Images of American Political History. Images are thought to be in the public domain.
Map Collections 1500 to 2004.
Free Foto. Huge collection of photographs, available free for private use.
More Free Stock Photos Free for personal use, but read terms of use.
Free Stock Photos.Still more. Free for personal use, but read terms.
Imageafter Photographs free for personal and commercial use.
Reusable ArtThis site has an excellent collection of copyright free images.
The Morgue File. Almost 12,000 high res photos free for private and public use. Don't let the name mislead you. This is nothing to do with morgues.:-)
The Smithsonian Office of Imaging, Printing and Photo Services. Many copyright free images for personal use.
Pics for Learning. Thousands of copyright free pictures for students and educators.
Free Public Domain Images. Small collection.
The Coin Page Copyright free images of coins for personal use.
Art Images for College Teaching Free images for students and educators.
Agricultural Research Image Gallery Hi res images, free to use.
Great Images in NASA. Over 1000 high res images that you can use freely.
US Fish and Wildlife Service. Free images.
Naval Historical Center. Online library of copyriht free, high res images.
Ocean98. Copyright free images of ocean-related topics.
National Archives Canada. Some images available free of charge for personal use. Check terms and conditions.
Public Domain Images Royalty Free Stock Photos. All photos on this site are top quality, high resolution public domain images (copyright friendly - safe images), royalty free stock photos, not copyrighted, no rights reserved.

Ookaboo. More than 45,000 images that are all public domain or creative commons so they can be used freely for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.

Other Ways to Find Images

Google Image Search Function.
Go to Google Search Engine Home Page, then hit on the Image Finder link. Enter your key word and you will find hundreds of images. Check to see if they are copyright free.

Microsoft Office Clip Art and Media Gallery
Tons of free Clip Art, Photographs and More. If you're a registered user of Microsoft Office software, you're entitled to use this site. Check the licensing agreement.

Purchase Ready-Made Collage Sheets
Lots of arts and crafts people are compiling beautiful collage sheets containing pictures that you can use in your altered books. Check out these

Somerset Studio Free Collage Sheet
Every month, Somerset Studio contains a collage sheet that you can cut out and use as desired.

Altered Books 103: Little Books, Decos, CDs & More! (#5215)

Collage : A New Approach by Jonathan Talbot.

Transparent Art by Somerset Studio. The latest trends in altered books and other papercraft projects.


Return to Altered Book Home Page when finished with copyright free images.