Royalty free artwork?

Is there a place to get royaly free artwork for use in soundcloud uploads? I have been trying to incorporate space themes which makes it difficult to just go take pictures… :stuck_out_tongue: Fun fact, when you google “royalty free” bla bla bla, you apparently get nothing but copyrighted images from -shutterstock -dreamstime -istockphoto, etc.

Rather than searching for “royalty free”, search for “cc0”. That’s a term with a very specific meaning that doesn’t seem to have been hijacked by the commercial players.

(Nitpickers’ corner: I know that “royalty free” and “cc0” aren’t equivalent, but for purposes of artwork for use in soundcloud uploads, cc0 is a good choice.)

1 Like

NASA allows for a very open use of their images.

Their guidelines are here, and you can search their database here.

For something less specific, I’ve personally been a fan of Unsplash. Some real high quality stuff.


I use There are a lot of very artistic images and many have space themes.
I often use the free GIMP GNU image processor to manipulate these images.


there is also with free pictures

1 Like

Thanks for all these suggestions! Adding cc0 helped a lot, thanks @Richie. I found a great pic for my Clouds of Europa patch. :smiley:


“Royalty free” means you don’t have to pay X% of your profits to the copyright holder, but there could still be other fixed-cost license fees. I.e. you may still have to purchase a “royalty-free” license. This is why you get Shutterstock, etc results, since they sell one-size-fits-all licenses with no royalty fees.


if you are looking for free (and public domain) , internet archive is a great source

To be fair, commercial players did not hijack royalty free. The term only means you do not pay royalties for their use which is an industry term meaning ongoing payments after initial licensure An image that is commercial may remain royalty free if you only need to pay for it up front.

Some producers charge you to make or license the content and then demand taxes on the further use of that. For example the licensing for everything MPEG related means that the MPAA charges some number of cents for every unit ever manufactured.

No, sorry, good point.

(The term to be wary of is “public domain”. That’s been muddled up with “publicly available” to the extent that it’s almost useless as a search term.)

i’ve been using unsplash as well. they have high quality photographs. i’ve noticed some others here have been using it as well.

1 Like

Here’s what I’ve used in the past, but cc0 makes a whole lot of sense as well.

The problem with public domain is that due to some intense pressure by the MPAA and others, they’ve been getting the government and courts to allow “un-publicizing” content. There was a big lawsuit about this where content had lapsed, a big studio lobbied to have the times extended yet again and then tried to claim that the extension should retroactively unpublish historical content. I believe the brain damage inflicted by SCOTUS on this case was along the lines of “well the statute never said something could not exit the public domain.”

So even if something is public domain, at least in the U.S.A., that doesn’t legally mean anything. You’re apparently allowed to change your mind and then file infringement charges even if they were using it during its tenure as a public work.

CC0 has a legal (although I don’t know if it’s court tested) definition, so it’s safe (assuming nobody comes out of left field and claims “that guy didn’t own enough of it to label it CC0.”)

1 Like