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If you’re looking for content for your site but don’t want to create it yourself or pay money for it, there are a lot of options available to you. Whether you are looking for images, articles or multimedia, there are many sites on the Web that make available a library of work available for you to use.
YouTube gets most of the glory when it comes to embedding video, but Voxant Newsroom has been steadily building a huge library of professional-quality videos, images and articles for easy embedding into other sites.
Though almost every blogger is aware of Flickr and its powerful photo management tools and most know of the wealth of Creative Commons-licensed images on the site, fewer are aware of the WordPress plugin PhotoDropper, which allows users to search for and embed Flickr images all from the post editing page.
The Web Archive, in addition to being a great resource to see what Google looked like in 1998, has one of the largest libraries of audio available for reuse. It’s Open Source Audio section has over 150,000 tracks of all varieties licensed under different Creative Commons Licenses. Finding what you want might be a bit tedious, but it can be a great way to find new intro music for your podcast, which is what I did, or perhaps some new music to embed.
If you want to embed video from some of your favorite television shows, Hulu provides one of the easiest ways to do it. With over fifty content partners including NBC, Fox and MGM, you can find and embed clips from favorite shows, both current and past.
If you need excellent-quality and high-resolution stock photography quickly, the stock.xchnge is easily one of the leaders. With over 350,000 images, many available for commercial use without attribution. The site itself is easily searched but one has to be careful both to obey the licenses for each image, which can vary from work to work, and to ensure that any work with a recognizable person has an appropriate model release before using it commercially.
With over 2 million media files, including images, videos, audio and eBooks, all available under Creative Commons, open source or public domain licensing, Wikimedia commons is a great resource for anyone looking for media to use.
The bottom line is that, if you’re looking for free, legal content for your site, there are many sources available to you. Whether you are seeking to embed the content or host your own, there are resources available to help you get the content you need without worrying about either copyright or payment.
The hope is that these sites will encourage legitimate and fair reuse of content so that fewer people will be tempted to plagiarize and outright rip off artists and authors. Though bad people will always do bad things, at least some can be dissuaded when presented a practical, legal alternative.
He writes at Plagiarism Today, a site about plagiarism, content theft and copyright issues on the Web. Jonathan is not a lawyer and none of the information he provides should be taken as legal advice.
If you can’t find a photo at Flickr, you may head right over there and usually succeed.