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Tips for Finding Public Domain B-Roll Images

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Please consider the following tips to help you prepare your B-Roll images with copyright in mind (Note: portions of what follows are adapted from methodology developed by Jonathan Hunt and Galen Davis for a 2011 Computers and Writing conference.):

Using Google Image Search

By using an advanced Google Search, you can specify rights restrictions to target images intended for shared use.

  1. Go to
  2. Enter your search words at the top (e.g., video games)
  3. When your results appear, click on the gear icon on the top right
  4. Select “Advanced Search” from the pop-up menu under the gear
  5. In the dialog box, put in the search words at the top, then select the following:
  • IMAGE SIZE: Specify “large”
  • ASPECT RATIO:  Specify “wide” to help you find landscape images
  • USAGE RIGHTS: Specify either “Free to use or share” or “Free to use share or modify”

Using Flickr

Many photographers use a Creative Commons License in hopes that people will share, use, and build upon their work. You can search images through Flickr that have a CC license.

  1. Go to
  2. Enter your search words at the top (e.g., video games)
  3. On the results page, click on “Advanced Search” in the upper right corner
  4. On the Advanced Search page, select “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content”

Using Creative Commons Image Search

Through the Creative Commons' official organization website, you can easily search for images via multiple search engines to find CC-licensed images.

  1. Go to
  2. Select which search engine you'd like to explore to find your image. Options include "Google," "Flickr," "Open Clip Art Library," "Wikimedia," and others.
  3. Type your search terms in the "search query" bar. (e.g. "video games")
  4. Press "enter" and you'll be directed to your search results, all of which will only include images that can be used for modification and adaption under a CC license.

Conducting a Reverse Search to See if your Existing Images are CC-Licensed

You may have images saved on your computer that you'd like to use for your b-roll, but you may not be sure if an image you saved can be re-used, modified, or adapted under a CC-license. Follow these steps to do a reverse image search and see if it's fair to use the images you already have.

  1. Go to
  2. Click the arrow icon in the middle of the screen to upload an image that you'd like to check
  3. Upload your image
  4. TinEye will produce results that will show where the image you've uploaded can be found on the Web. Determine, based on the Web sources of rht eimage, whether the image can be re-used for your course video

Other Sites to Use in Selecting Images for Your B-Roll: