Creative Commons is a license that allows for some aspects of a work to be used or manipulated as long as the original source of the work is credited. According to creativecommons.org, when you CC a work, you give people the right to “share, use and build upon a work you have created,” as long as it is for non-commercial purposes. The license is free to obtain, and as soon as you upload an original work, it is already under Creative Commons, and one must receive your permission to use it.
As a design student, Creative Commons licenses are very valuable. When I need photos for a project, whether it be as a source of inspiration or for direct use, I can use photos with a CC license free of charge. All I have to do is credit the original owner.
Flickr is a great photo sharing website that allows one to search specifically for CC photos. To access Creative Commons photos in Flickr, go to www.flickr.com. In the search box, type in whatever kind of image you are looking for. After pressing “enter,” click on “Advanced Search.” Scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see a checkbox for only searching through Creative Commons-licensed content. All the images that then show up are free to be used in any way as long as you cite the original uploader/owner of the photo.
Creative Commons opens up a wide range of opportunities for the thrifty college kid like me who can’t afford to buy stock images or who isn’t always able to take pictures myself.