Copyright Rules and Resources

Copyrighted Images

When sourcing images for department/program websites, newsletters, promotional materials and social media accounts, it's important to be aware of copyright issues. One option is to hire a photographer to take images, or to pay for the rights to use stock photos through services like IStockPhotoShutterStock, etc. If you have a limited budget, or are simply looking for a wider selection, the links below are great resources for royalty-free or public domain (no copyright) images.

If you didn't pay for the rights to an image and it didn't come from one of the links below, be sure to investigate license/copyright terms on a particular image (i.e., don't simply download something from a Google Images search). If you're not sure about copyright claims/license terms on a particular image, contact Scott Haber at

Resources for Royalty-Free and Public Domain Images

Resource for Royalty-Free Music

As outlined in the university's social media guidelines, the use of copyrighted material in multimedia created by colleges, departments or student groups for informational or promotional purposes generally requires appropriate permission and often the payment of fees for at least one, and typically two, separate licenses. This includes, but is not limited to, any music files used in multimedia production. 

To support the production of Cornell promotional videos, the university now offers the online music database of FirstCom Music free to all current faculty, staff and students. With thousands of music tracks at your disposal, and an intuitive search function, it is easy to find the perfect tracks and sound effects to make your multimedia projects really stand out. The resources available in the FirstCom Music database are for use in Cornell promotional productions only and are not for personal use.

You can find out more and register on the Brand Center’s website.