If you use other people’s copyrighted material in your video contest entries, you’re going to get disqualified. So I’m always on the lookout for archives of copyright-free and royalty-free music and graphics. Well this week I hit the jackpot because the British Library has just posted a set of more than one million public domain images to their flickr account. All of the artwork was scanned from books from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and the library is actively encouraging people to use and remix these works. Weird clip art and old-fashioned images would cost a lot to license through sites like istockphoto so this is a really great resource. Because this material is all on the library’s flickr account, the search options aren’t very sophisticated. But if you search their photostream you might get lucky. You can even search for images from specific classic novels. For instance, here’s one drawing that came up when I searched for “David Copperfield.”
It’s young master Davey calling on good ole’ Barkis’ death bed. How fun! Now just remember, if you do use one of these images in a video contest entry, be sure to let the judges know where it came from and tell them that the artwork is in the public domain and that the scans are 100% copyright and royalty free.