A Commons, in the broad sense, refers to resources that are collectively owned or shared by all. On the Internet, such resources are typically media that carry free copyright licenses and open standard formats.
What is Wikimedia Commons?
The Wikimedia Commons (also called "Wikicommons", or just "commons") is a repository of free images, animations, audio, video and other multimedia files. Like Wikiversity, it is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation. It provides a common media resource repository to all the various Wikimedia sister projects in any language.
The media files on the Commons can be used on all other Wikimedia projects including Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikisource and Wikinews, or downloaded for offsite use such as for printing, presentations or other websites. All of the content is either in the public domain or released under free copyright license such as Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license.
Almost all Images and other media that appear on Wikiversity are embedded here from the Wikimedia Commons.
Other Commons repositories
- The Internet Archive - a very large range of historic and contemporary media, both from organisations and independents.
- The Free Music Archive - A very large range of free music and sounds, mostly contemporary and by independents, but some historic and all genres covered. Careful with licenses that restrict comercial or derivative use
- Youtube Creative Commons - A large and rapidly growing collection of video licensed Creative Commons Attribution. CCBy is the most flexible license but be certain it's being legitimately applied. People are free to apply the license but Youtube has only automatic procedures for checking the content.
- Flickr Creative Commons - A very large collection of images published on Flickr with a Creative Commons license. Avoid Non Commercial and No Derivative licenses, and be certain the license is legitimate. Flickr users are free to apply a license, but Flickr has no process that verifies the legitimacy of the license
- Flickr Commons - This is the section of Flickr that Institutions such as National Libraries, The Smithsonian, Powerhouse Museum, The Australian War Memorial and more.... However, many of the institutions licences restrict copyright to private use so be sure to check the rights of each institution