Seven Great Sites for Legal, Free Content

Filed as Features, Multimedia on June 9, 2008 8:49 am

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.

If you know where to look for what you want and to make sure that your site complies with the licensing requirements put upon it, you’ll find that there are plenty of people eager have their work become a part of your blog.

To help with that, I have compiled a list of seven of my favorite sites for obtaining free, high-quality content for your site without any worries of copyright issues down the road.


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. You can find material from the Associated Press, Reuters, CBS, the BBC and many more. They also have content from dozens of local TV news programs making it a great choice for local bloggers. I will be covering this site in more detail on my site tomorrow.


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. Best of all, PhotoDropper formats the photo and the attribution correctly, ensuring that the use meets the terms of both Flickr’s terms of use and the Creative Commons License.


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. You can even trim the clips to focus in on just the part that you want, ideal for making a point about a particular point or event.


For text content, Articlesbase is usually the site to search first. In addition to having some 400,000 articles available for republishing, the site makes it very easy to search for and embed the content, even providing HTML versions of the text. As with most free article sites, the quality of the content varies wildly, but the site does have a reputation system to help you find good authors. Please be careful to obey the publisher terms of use when re-posting articles and, as always, double check to make sure that the content is original before posting it.


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. Though commonly thought of as just another part of Wikipedia, files placed into the Wikimedia Commons are available for use by anyone and the site is easily searchable.


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.

In the end, these sites are great resources for all bloggers and I encourage bloggers to support these sites not just by contributing content to them as practical, but by correctly using the works found within.

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  1. By Sue posted on June 10, 2008 at 6:22 am
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    There’s another great resource: Community Webshots.
    If I can’t find a photo at Flickr, I head right over there and usually succeed.

    There are five sizes available, each with a preview, and the different methods of posting them are given in the preview box (Blog or website, direct link, or forum BB code).

    Between Flickr, Wikimedia Commons, Stock Exchange and Webshots, there is no excuse not to have legal photos on your site. :)

    And thanks for the other links. Other than Open Source Audio, I’d never heard of them.


  2. By Jonathan Bailey posted on June 10, 2008 at 9:34 am
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    Sue: Thanks for the reminder about Webshots, it is easy to forget about them with so many great sites for finding images!

    Very welcome for the other links. Hope some of them help out!


  3. By William Stewart posted on June 13, 2008 at 11:17 pm
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    Flickr is great for photos to add to your blog posts, though I do think it’s important to add an attribution of where the photo came from.

    Hulu is unfortunately only available in the US, so for us “international bloggers”, we’ll stick to Youtube for the time being!


  4. By Marina Hotforwords posted on August 6, 2008 at 9:12 pm
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    Very true! These sites are great resources for all bloggers. I can add two more into your library:



    • By J. Chavez posted on October 10, 2013 at 4:21 am
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      I struggle with creating content on my site all the time. Since English is not my first language, it is often tough to come up with words to help me explain my thoughts.

      Syndication allows me to offer great fresh content for my readers. I also love using PLR articles as well. They often give me great ideas on what to write.

      Recently I found a really cool tool that helps this creative process considerably. It is unlike any article spinner that I have ever seen. It uses a whole different way to construct articles that makes creating unique content very quickly based on a keyword phrase.

      The link to this cool content tool is
      It would be nice to hear what you think of it. Make it a great day.


  5. By alisheraz posted on August 30, 2008 at 3:20 pm
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    It is really a very nice gesture to give the information about these sites. As I love to visit flicker and also VOXANT. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS is quite informative. I will send this link to all of my friends. I believe that this will modify the isolated communities on internet.


    Outsourcing Solution in Pakistan


  6. By Shawn posted on August 30, 2008 at 3:24 pm
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    there’s no question on the popularity of photo blogs but i woudln’t upload any photo due to unprotection by not having copy rights or by not having restrictions to download them.


    Outsourcing Solution in Pakistan


  7. By Shaikh Izaj Ahmed posted on October 12, 2008 at 3:26 am
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    Really a good knowledge for those who are newbies for blogging, Actually it is must to blog with your own content but some times it may be helpful.


  8. By Raymond posted on January 12, 2009 at 11:36 am
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    I belong to several video sites. One day (when I grow up) I will put one up myself. As I look at the pros and cons of different video sites, I find HULU has what is a serious con for me. HULU’s videos are only up for a limited time. So if you are blogging and want to refer back to a post with a HULU video that has been taken down, you might want to think twice. I just found this blog today. Thanks for the great post, I will use this information.


  9. By Bob Richards posted on May 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm
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    Just found another site that so far works well


  10. By APNA JAHANIAN posted on November 2, 2013 at 6:08 am
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    well, I don’t think, because if you are applying for google adsense, you must provide content by you… and adsense hates copyright issues…


  11. By Bryan posted on December 19, 2013 at 2:46 am
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    Great site here..
    why not add this in your list


  12. By Prince Asiedu posted on January 24, 2014 at 5:30 am
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    content management have been problem for ‘cos I don’t time to feed my blog with fresh content but now I’m ok thanks for the post


  13. By Skitterphoto posted on May 14, 2014 at 8:52 am
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    Great blog, I’d like to add a free source for photo content. All images on are free to download, modify and share.


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