CC BY, CC BY-SA, Public Domain and more

Notes on image search and image selection

On this page we inform you about the following content: 

  • Images under the licence CC0 - Public Domain
  • Image search via various platforms
  • Image search via Creative Commons (CC)

Images under licence CC0 – Public Domain

When searching for and selecting images, the respective licence must always be observed. The licence specifies the conditions under which an image may be used (free of charge, against payment, editable, not modifiable, citation requirements, etc.) and for what purpose (print, web, commercial, non-commercial, etc.).

Images offered under the Creative Commons licence CC0 - Public Domain are mostly freely available (free of charge). In addition, there are a large number of other, specific licences that allow further use only under certain conditions and/or for certain purposes.


Please keep in mind that Creative Commons only offers licence agreements, which in turn regulate rights that arise through copyright. Although a photo may be under a CC licence, there are often other rights which are not taken into account, such as: Right to one's own image, trademark law, patent and copyright etc.

For each image, please always check the current licence under which it is made available and ensure that you publish the image with correct information (citation, source reference).

We recommend that you provide precise source information even for public domain images and always state in the copyright notice where the image originated.

Image search via platforms

Below you will find some platforms where you can also find (not exclusively!) images that can be used under the CC0 – Public Domain licence:

Image search via Creative Commons (CC)

Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation that publishes standard licence agreements with which authors can grant the public rights to use their works. The different Creative Commons licences are composed in a kind of modular system.

Search free images

You can search for CC0-licensed works quickly and easily via the Creative Commons Search database. Simply enter one or more search terms and define your search criteria. In any case, limit the result using the filter settings "Use" and "Licenses" as shown in the screenshot to ensure that only free and editable images are displayed to you.

CC search with filter settings

Keen on details

When you have found a suitable image, click on it to view the detailed information. In the detailed information, you can usually download the image in different sizes and you can also see, among other things, under which licence the image can be used.

Note: Please make sure that you have not selected an image from a paid image database. At, paid images from the image database are displayed in the first row of your search results as advertisements.

Specify the origin of the images

We recommend that you also indicate the copyright and/or the origin of the image for free images. You can add the corresponding note directly to the image.

Backend: In TYPO3, in the Filelist workspace, the required fields are available under the Metadata tab.

Frontend: Afterwards your image will be displayed correctly in the BOKUweb including copyright and licence notice via mouseover.

Watch out for the licence, record metadata correctly

If the images are not available under the CC0 Public Domain licence, you have to pay attention to the respective licence.

In most cases, the detailed information on the image includes a link to the applicable licence conditions. Please always use the current links to the licences. The images here are for orientation and illustration purposes only.

Example for a specified licence

The licence for the example image states that in addition to the platform, the photographer/owner must also be named in the event of use: ©, János Balázs (CC BY-SA).


Creative Commons only offers licence agreements, which in turn regulate rights that arise through copyright. Although a photo can be under a CC licence, there are often other rights that are not taken into account, such as: right to own image, trademark, patent and copyright etc.