Free & Cheap Resources

Creating a cover, adding images to your books, making trailers, or even decorating your website shouldn’t cost a fortune.  In fact, it can be done for free, or for practically nothing, especially if you are friends with the CC license.

CC, or Creative Commons, is a license that allows users to download, distribute, reuse, remix, adapt and publish other people’s work for free. However, just because it’s online doesn’t mean it has a CC license, and just because it is CC doesn’t mean it is available for remixing or commercial uses. Always be sure to check. For more info on the CC license check the site: http://creativecommons.org/about/licenses

One easy place to find CC licensed music, videos and images is on the CC website: http://search.creativecommons.org/. However, they aren’t the only source out there.

Remember: Whenever you use someone else’s work – even if you pay for it – you need to give them the credit. this is called attribution, and not only do most sites require it, but it’s just a good practice. It helps other people find the goodies you’ve found.

The links that follow all allow for remixing and commercial use unless otherwise noted. If a link is broken or the information is incorrect then please let me know!

Thanks! And hope this is helpful.

Document Conversion:

from PDF to Word Doc – http://www.pdftoword.com/

Free. Upload your PDF and they will email you the converted word doc as an attachment. Works beautifully, even with images! I tested my 101 Tips PDF and was very happy with the results.

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From Word or PDF to EPub, Mobi, etc – http://www.2epub.com/

This ePub converter allows you to convert pdfdoc and other types of documents & ebooks to ePub format, the standard format for ebooks, supported by many ebook readers including iPad, iPhone, iPod, Sony Reader, BeBook, Nook, Kobo (for Kindle use mobi). Input formats: doc, docx, epub, fb2, html, lit, lrf, mobi, odt, pdb, pdf, prc, rtf, txt. Output formats: epub, fb2, lit, lrf, mobi

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Vectors/Clip art/illustrations:

Free Art- http://search.gett.edu

Free. Getty has released  new Open Content images (at the moment it is all famous artwork) that can be used for commercial purposes. You will be asked to say what you’re using it on before you can download it, however. There is an FAQ with all the info. Lots of good stuff here, needless to say.

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Free Vectors- http://www.vectorportal.com/stockvectors/

Free. Vectorportal is huge database of free vectors which users can freely use for their commercial and personal projects. During 5 years of existence we have been repeatedly voted as Top 10 free vector resource by various graphic design sites. (Attribution required in your credit section)

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Free Vectors – http://vector4free.com/

All the vector images on this site are free for personal use, many of them are also free for commercial purpose. Still, always remember to check terms of use before using.

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Free Vectors – http://www.vectorss.com/

Free. For designers we find the best vectoric resources of internet and gather all of them in our website. We add new resources day by day and present them for your admire. We hope it will be useful for you. Be sure to follow the links to the creators original sites to make sure that the images are available for commercial use.

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Free Vectors, Clip Art, Brushes and Effects – http://mediamilitia.com/category/freebies/

“..Available for both personal and commercial projects so give them a whirl and share your designs with us in the comments…” This site has images, add ons like lens flares and lightning bolts, textures, and so much more. Awesomeness.

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Free Vectors & Textures – http://www.fuzzimo.com/a

You may use the free stuff files for personal or commercial works and you do not have to credit or link back to me. Use the navigation on the right where it says “Folders” to find what you’re looking for. Lots of really, really good stuff!

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Free Clip Art – http://thegraphicsfairy.com/

You may use the free stuff files for personal or commercial works and you do not have to credit or link back to me. Use the navigation on the right where it says “Folders” to find what you’re looking for. Lots of really, really good stuff!

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Free Clip Art – http://www.flickr.com/photos/britishlibrary

The British museum has released over a million images into public domain, making them free to use, rework, and adapt.

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Free Vintage Images – http://viintage.com/

We are a public domain image repository. We are a site where you come to explore and discover treasures that were left behind by the great designers that came before you. A place to find inspiration and designs that you can re-use in your creative projects.

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Free Abstract Images – http://creativity103.com/

Free. The materials contained here are free to download and use, but you must credit / link to this site if you use them in any commercial application or product. Attribution required.
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Free vector images – http://openclipart.org/

Free. Except where noted otherwise below in our Trademark Policy, to the extent possible under law, the people who associated CC0 with contributions to this site have waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to their contributions to this site. Contributors to this site encourage users of this site and the content on it, to provide attribution to the relevant pages on this site when possible. Account required to comment, but not to download or use.

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Free vector images and more – http://www.bittbox.com/gallery

Use Bittbox files in posters, website designs, cd covers, postcards, annuals, flyers, business cards, branding, . . . DESIGN.  Use BittBox buttons as a part of a UI for a software you are developing. Use BittBox files as a learning experience to grow and create your own excellent designs.

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Free images & illustrations – http://www.thepublicdomain.ne

All content on this site is public domain and, therefore, 100% free. Lots of “old timey” stuff, such as pen and inks and old paintings etc. As well as some good textures and photos. Since it is actually a blog some searching is required. Use google and type “site:http://www.thepublicdomain.ne” without quotations to make finding images easier. 

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Free and/or cheap illustrations – http://www.deviantart.com/

DA has the option to license your work as CC, however I have yet to find a filter for this, so you just have to check the image pages.  Alternately, you may be able to contact the artists for permissions or commissions.

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Free and/or cheap illustrations/vectors/etc. – http://search.safecreative.org/advanced-search

You need to use the advanced search and choose yes for the options “Work can be copied and distributed”, “Commercial use of this work is allowed”, Derived works can be produced” and “Download allowed”. Even so, check the license which appears on the right hand side in each listing and make sure that it is public domain or Creative Commons. If it says “All rights reserved” you can NOT use it legally without obtaining permission from the author of the image.

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Free Stock Images – http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Standard This license comes in two types: “Free” and “Purchased”. The only difference between them is that if you use a free image you must publish an acknowledgement to FreeDigitalPhotos.net and the image creator on the same page or screen that the image is used on. Click here for instructions on how to acknowledge FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Purchased images do not have this requirement.

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Cheap Stock Images – http://www.canstockphoto.com/

$1 and up. A regular license is good enough for ebook use (It specifically says so in the FAQ). No account needed, you can check out as a guest, though if you buy credits or a subscription, you get the images cheaper (about 4$ for a large image – suitable for book coves). Images are priced per size. It has many of the same images as other sites at MUCH lower rates.
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Cheap Stock Images – http://www.fotosearch.com/
$3 and up.You can buy these with cash or credits – Credits work out cheaper, of course. You can choose “illustration”, “clipart” or “vector” in the search box. The standard license is good for 1,000,000 copies of print or ebook. Images are priced per size, though the medium or large is sufficient for a book cover. (smaller sizes for illustrations of web use). 
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Cheap Stock Images – http://dreamstime.com

Fairly cheap. A regular license is sufficient for book covers/illustrations, trailers, etc. so long as you do not have more than 500,000 copies printed.  (As a precaution I emailed their customer service and got that in writing – er, typing 😉 )Be sure to check mark the vector/illustration box! Images priced per size and “level” starting at $1 and going up. For a POD cover you generally need the LARGE size.  Account required.

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Cheap-ish clip art/illustrations – http://www.clipart.com/en/

$14.99 and up. You have to subscribe to the site for a flat fee, so unless you need a lot of images it;s not really worth it.  Standard license is suitable for books covers/illustrations.

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Photos:

Free Stock Images – http://www.morguefile.com/

Free.  You are free: Remix — to adapt the work. Commercial — to use this work for commercial purposes. Without Attribution — to use without attributing the original author.

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Free stock images – http://www.dreamstime.com/free-photos

Free. The free section of dreamstime.com has a nice variety of images that can be used for multiple things with a print limitation of 10,000 copies. The license attached to this is sufficient for book covers/illustrations and trailers. Account required.

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Free Stock Images – http://www.sxc.hu/

Free. You can use the images in digital format on websites, multimedia presentations, broadcast film and video, cell phones. In printed promotional materials, magazines, newspapers, books, brochures, flyers, CD/DVD covers, etc. Along with your corporate identity on business cards, letterhead, etc. To decorate your home, your office or any public place. However, they do not guarantee model or property releases and some photographers wish to be notified if you use their images. Attribution Required.

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Free Stock images – http://burningwell.org./

Free. BurningWell is a repository for public domain (free for any use) images. You are free to download, copy and use the photos you find here for any purpose. These free images were donated by photographers from around the world. Requires model releases, so you are probably safe to use images of people.

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Free Antiwue Photos – http://www.flickr.com/photos/britishlibrary

The British museum has released over a million images into public domain, making them free to use, rework, and adapt.

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Free Stock Images – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

Free. Be sure to double check the licenses. Attribution required.

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Free Stock Images – http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/browse-

Free for personal and commercial use. The page has two sections to it; free and professional stock images. The pro images cost money
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Free Stock Images – http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Standard This license comes in two types: “Free” and “Purchased”. The only difference between them is that if you use a free image you must publish an acknowledgement to FreeDigitalPhotos.net and the image creator on the same page or screen that the image is used on. Click here for instructions on how to acknowledge FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Purchased images do not have this requirement.

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Free Abstract Images – http://creativity103.com/
Free. The materials contained here are free to download and use, but you must credit / link to this site if you use them in any commercial application or product. Attribution required.
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Free. Some of these photos and images are in the public domain and may be used and reproduced without permission or fee. However, some photos and images may be protected by license. You should read the disclaimers on each site before use.
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Free. NASA still images; audio files; video; and computer files used in the rendition of 3-dimensional models, such as texture maps and polygon data in any format, generally are not copyrighted. NASA should be acknowledged as the source of the material except in cases of advertising. See NASA Advertising Guidelines.
If the NASA material is to be used for commercial purposes, especially including advertisements, it must not explicitly or implicitly convey NASA’s endorsement of commercial goods or services. If a NASA image includes an identifiable person, using the image for commercial purposes may infringe that person’s right of privacy or publicity, and permission should be obtained from the person.
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All content on this site is public domain and, therefore, 100% free. Lots of “old timey” stuff. Since it is actually a blog, some searching is required. Use google and type “site:http://www.thepublicdomain.ne” without quotations to make finding images easier. 

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Free stock images – http://flickr.com

Many users have collections of images available for free use under a CC license.  Legally even if they change the license later you are all right, but it never hurts to contact them just to be safe. Also, any image with a recognizable person or house may need a model or property release, so you may want to check if they have one and/or can get one.   There are literally millions of CC photos out there if you look. The CC Search engine will search flickr directly:http://search.creativecommons.org/

Following is a list of user accounts that offer free licenses available for commercial/remixing – remember to double check licenses on individual images, though!!!:

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Free Stock “Travel” Images – http://photoeverywhere.co.uk/

Yes you can use this image for FREE but you must link back to us. Images on this site are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License Not Property Released

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Free Animal Photos – http://animalphotos.info/a/

Free. Images on this site are under creative commons and are free to use on web sites and other projects. Attribution required.

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Free Car Photos – http://carpictures.cc/cars/photo/

Free. Images on this site can be used freely under Creative Commons. Lots of cars, indexed alphabetically by make.
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You need to use the advanced search and choose yes for the options “Work can be copied and distributed”, “Commercial use of this work is allowed”, Derived works can be produced” and “Download allowed”. Even so, check the license which appears on the right hand side in each listing and make sure that it is public domain or Creative Commons. If it says “All rights reserved” you can NOT use it legally without obtaining permission from the author of the image.

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Cheap Stock Images – http://www.fotosearch.com/
$3 and up.You can buy these with cash or credits – Credits work out cheaper, of course. The standard license is good for 1,000,000 copies of print or ebook. Images are priced per size, though the medium or large is sufficient for a book cover. (smaller sizes for illustrations of web use).
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Cheap Stock Images – http://www.canstockphoto.com/

$1 and up. A regular license is good enough for ebook use (It specifically says so in the FAQ). No account needed, you can check out as a guest, though if you buy credits or a subscription, you get the images cheaper (about 4$ for a large image – suitable for book coves). Images are priced per size. It has many of the same images as other sites at MUCH lower rates.
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Cheap stock images – http://www.123rf.com/

Many images start at $1 and go up. They used to require an extended license, but have changed their policies (again I emailed them to be sure) and can now be used for books covers as well as trailers. Account required.

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Cheap-ish Stock Images – http://dreamstime.com

$1 and up. Thousands of stock images on the cheap. A regular license is sufficient for book covers/illustrations, trailers, etc. so long as you do not have more than 500,000 copies printed. (As a precaution I emailed their customer service and got that in writing – er, typing 😉 ) Images priced per size and “level” starting at $1 and going up. For a POD cover you generally need the LARGE size.  Account required.

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Cheap-ish Stock images – http://www.istockphoto.com/

$7 and up. A regular license is sufficient for book covers/illustrations, trailers, etc. so long as you do not have more than 499,000 copies printed. Images priced per size and “level”. For a POD cover you generally need the LARGE size.  Account required.

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Cheap-esque romantic stock images – RomanceNovelCovers.com

$10 for web and $15 for print. They also have background images for $1 or $3. As the name suggests, the images are for book covers, so no licensing worries.  Account required.

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(see also http://www.freestockimages.net/resource-list/ )

some other stock sites:

http://stockfresh.com/ (up to 250,000  printed copies with a standard license, $5 and up for book cover sizes),

http://www.pixmac.com/ ($6.98 and up for large images.)

http://hotdamnstock.com/ (500,000 printed copies, $15 for high res, photos of people only – good for romance)

http://www.thinkstockphotos.com/ (Up to 500,000 copies with standard license. Subscription: 5 images for $59)

http://www.shutterstock.com/ – (subscription required 1 month =$250, or five images for $50)

Fonts:

Free Fonts – http://manfred-klein.ina-mar.com/

Free or donation. My favorite font maker. Manfred’s fonts are free for private and charity use. They are even free for commercial use – but if there’s any profit, pls make a donation to organizations like Doctors Without Borders.

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Font Squirrel – http://www.fontsquirrel.com

Free. All are available for commercial use. Free fonts have met their match. We know how hard it is to find quality freeware that is licensed for commercial work. We’ve done the hard work, hand-selecting these typefaces and presenting them in an easy-to-use format.

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Sinister Fonts.com – http://www.sinisterfonts.com/

Free. Mostly spooky style. You can use these fonts however you want, for anything you want to use them for, as long as you don’t try to claim you made them. If you’re feeling magnanimous, let me know how you’re using them, and consider donating a couple bucks to help me continue making these things for you…

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JLH Fonts – http://jlhfonts.blogspot.com

Free. all Fonts are in the public domain (as noted on the Font’s copyright notice), which means that you can use a Font for any purpose whatsoever; b) you are free to reproduce, edit or use any other means of modificiation of this Font. Has some good handwriting fonts.

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Free Fonts – http://www.dafont.com/

Free and up. This is a collection site, so not all the fonts are available for commercial use. Be sure to check the license ( to the right of each font eg; free, free for personal use, public domain etc) and also check developers websites if they have links.

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Free Vintage Fonts – http://www.cthulhulives.org/toybox/PROPDOCS/PropFonts.html

Free to $20.  As a person with a license, you have the right: 1) to install and use the font software on one computer and as many printers or image production devices as are required to output your work; 2) to make one copy of the font software for backup purposes; 3) to use the font software as part of an overall graphic or website design, for personal or professional projects.A selection of free fonts are available or you can pay $20 for the full set.

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Free fonts – http://www.1001freefonts.com/

Free or $19.99. The fonts here are not as clearly labeled with their license, so be sure to check in the read me files that come with the font downloads. Also they have a pack of 10,000 fonts for $19.95that is fully licensed for commercial use. They are obviously updating it because I bought this a year ago and it now has fonts in it I did not get.

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Free Fonts – http://www.misprintedtype.com/v4/

Twenty grunge-ish fonts. They are completely freeware. You can use it for your commercial projects and do not pay a dime. You just CAN`T redistribute and/or sell the fonts in any form. And you can always support the freeware fonts section, buying one commercial font.

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Free Fonts – http://www.boltcutterdesign.com/

Some really fantastic Cyrillic and grung-ish fonts. This program is free for all projects, public & private, personal & commercial. Credit for the font, MUST accompany any published work. A scan of the finished product, would be appreciated.

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Free Fonts – http://moorstation.org/typoasis/designers/lloyd/

the world has become a drear and functional place more concerned with relevance and practicality than with beauty. Join me, then in my small attempt to revive the spirit of the past. Download some of my fonts, designed purely to be decorative and never practical, and use them. Lets see if we can’t stem the tide and win back the sense of beauty that we are in danger of losing! (despite this disclaimer, there are some useful fonts here! Chocolate Box is one of my all time favorites!)

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Free Fonts – http://www.joebob.nl/free-fonts

of course the free fonts are for free, only re-selling in any way is forbidden. – A nice collection of handwritten and marker fonts. There are also some nice fonts for sale that range from $^ (US) to $32.

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Free fonts for comics only – http://blambot.com/fonts.shtml

Free or $20 and up. If you are a comic book self-publisher/small press publisher you may use these fonts for profit or non profit or as part of graphics printed on merchandise to support your independent comic. · Any other commercial use not listed above requires a license fee, including embedding fonts within an application, or commercial redistribution. Otherwise you can buy licenses.

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Cheap fonts – http://www.vtks.com.br/

Donation required for commercial use. Free for personal use.

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Image Editing software:

Free art program – http://www.gimp.org/

Free. You could actually make a full wraparound in here, provided you could find someone to convert it to a PDF.

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Free art program – http://www.getpaint.net/

Free. I’ve heard good things. Has some handy filters, layer abilities and more. You could make a wrap around here too, so long as someone would PDF if for you.

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Convert Photoshop Brushes to PNG’s – http://www.g1ga.it/abrviewer/

Free. If you use a free or cheap art program you’ll find that photoshop brushes (abr files) won’t load in it. Use this free program to convert abr files to PNG’s and then export them through your program of choice. (here is a tutprial on how to do this in Paint Shop Pro – http://www.michelespaintshop.com/eps-to-psp-custom-brush.php)

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Video:

Free Video clips/timelapse videos – http://www.openfootage.net/

Free with option to donate.  All the footage is released under the creative commons copyrights giving you the rights to use for commercial, non commercial, remixes or whatever you want. The only exception is you are not allowed to resell or redistribute the textures on other footage sites or collections. (Attribution required in your credit section)

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Cheap Video Effects – http://www.pixelan.com/

$8 and up. Plugins for various movie making software, including Windows Movie Maker. They sell Pan/zoom effects, transitions, color effects, correction effects, time effects, overlays, accents and more.

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Music:

Free Music – http://incompetech.com/m/c/royalty-free/

Free with option of donation. Searchable database of instrumental music by Kevin McLeod released under a CC license. Usable for commercial and personal. (Attribution required in credits)

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Free Music – http://freemusicarchive.org/curator/creative_commons

Free. Much of the music found on the Free Music Archive is released under a Creative Commons license. What we are highlighting here is just a small portion of the massive amount of free and reusable music available from artists who use CC and are ready to share. (Attribution required in credits.)

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Free Music/remixes – http://ccmixter.org/

Free. ccMixter is a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commonswhere you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want. Attribution required in credits. Free account required.

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Free Music – http://www.jamendo.com/en/

Free with option to donate to individual artists. Jamendo is a community of free, legal and unlimited music published under Creative Commons licenses. Share your music, download your favorite artists! NOTE: not everything is available to remix/adapt.  You can specify these requirements in your search. Here is a link to a search with that already checked.

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Free & Paid Music & Sound Effects – http://www.partnersinrhyme.com/

As well as our free sound effects library we also have a large collection of royalty free sound effects available for download on CDs or DVDs. Drop our nature sounds into your project for the perfect bed when you need to replace noisy backgrounds. We have a huge library oanf Nature Sound Effects available. Our new Human Sound Effects Library is packed full of coughs, sneezes, screams, yells, grunts, groans, snores, and lots more. This collection is perfect for those moments when you need a better cough or sneeze than the one in your current take.
If you need scary sounds you will find them in our Horror sound effects library. 10 scary atmospheric music beds plus a selection of scary sound effects from our library.You can also download cds of dramatic background music to go with the scary sounds.
Some of our most popular sound effects are our war sounds and gun sounds. We have free sound effects and low cost professional sound effects in this category.

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Cheap Music – http://square-peach.com/

$2.00 and up. Royalty free mp3 instrumental rock music. For websites, Flash animations, movie soundtracks, video, presentations, multi-media. Mp3s are immediate downloads after purchase is completed. All original rock compositions written, recorded and mixed exclusively for Square Peach Music.

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DIY Music:

Muse Score – http://musescore.org/

free cross-platform WYSIWYG music notation program, that offers a cost-effective alternative to professional programs such as Sibelius and Finale. You can print beautifully engraved sheet music or save it as PDF or MIDI file. (I’ve downloaded but not tried it yet)

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Sound Effects:

Free sound effects – http://soundsforfree.com/ –

SoundsForFree.com delivers the best sounds it can for you to be used in your media projects. You are allowed to edit them in any way you want and you are also allowed to use them for commercial aswell as independent projects. Attribution in credits appreciated but not required.

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Free Sound Effects – http://www.freesound.org/

Free or donation. The Freesound Project is a collaborative database of Creative Commons licensed sounds. Freesound focusses only on sound, not songs. This is also a whole community with a forum, etc.  Attribution required in credits. Account required.

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Free Sound Effects – http://soundbible.com/

Free. We offer free and royalty free sounds for video editors, movie scores, game designers, and weekend audio warriors. – there are different licenses on different sounds, so check to makes sure it works for your project. Attribution required.

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If you know of any others feel free to share and I will add them.

Note: There are several other stock image places to buy from, including photos.com and fotosearch.com, but they aren’t significantly different or cheaper from the ones listed, that I’ve noticed.

Thanks to Vicky,  Samantha Fury & Barbara G. Tarn for adding links!

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