One of challenges we face when writing in digital environments and drawing on the work of others is addressing concerns of fair use. One of the easiest ways to address these concerns is by drawing on material (images, video, music, etc.) that is in the public domain or that has a Creative Commons license. These materials may have some limitations in terms of how you use them and share them, but generally, they are available for you to incorporate into your own multimedia writing as you see fit.
The following resources and archives have materials in the public domain or with Creative Commons licenses, so you might look through them to see if you can find helpful materials for your work.
- The Public Domain Review has lots of resources, including links to the Internet Archive, Wikimedia Commons, the Library of Congress, and Flickr.
- Keep in mind that sites like YouTube and Flickr allow you to search for Creative Commons licensed material. On YouTube, you can select a “Creative Commons” filter on your search. On Flickr, you can do this under the advanced search option.
Fair Use is something we need to navigate both for ethical and legal reasons. A wrong step could result in your content getting taken down or you getting sued. Accessibility is less of a legal concern at this point, but it is important to consider on an ethical level. When you share your work online, your potential audience includes people with disabilities, hearing or sight impairment, color blindness, or other characteristics that shape their encounter with your work. There are a range of things you can do to make your work more accessible to your broader audience, and checking out the World Wide Web Consortium’s page on accessibility is a good starting point.