Creative Commons search engine will soon become part of WordPress.org!

The search engine currently offers over 500 million images, audio and video under Creative Commons licenses or in the public domain, aggregating over 45 different sources.

The current design of the Creative Commons image search engine

Matt Mullenweg announced the acquisition on his personal blog, writing that CC Search "will join the project WordPress". This is a great benefit to the community, providing a valuable source of GPL-compliant images for use in WordPress derived products such as themes and plugins.

Mullenweg suggested a long-term plan in which deep integration of the CC search engine into WordPress.org is only the first step:

I am eager to give a new home to their search product on WordPress.org as a form of continuing their commitment to open source freedom and providing this resource to the community for decades to come. This is an important first step in providing a long-term, sustainable challenge to proprietary libraries like Unsplash.

The reference to Unsplash follows controversial licensing changes by this company, which has abandoned the licence CC0 in 2017.

This achievement was hidden by Unsplash, which refused to use its API to distinguish CC0 images in the future. In July 2020, the controversy resurfaced after Unsplash launched its official plugin for WordPress. Some users are concerned about whether the company will be willing to change its licence and terms in the future, especially after Unsplash was acquired by Getty Images.

Creative Commons Search remains one of the few places to find CC0-licensed images that are GPL-compliant. It will be interesting to see how the news of CC Search finding a new home on WordPress.org will affect Automattic's relationship with Pexels, another photo library with even more restrictive licenses than Unsplash. Access to Pexels was added to WordPress.com in 2018 and is also integrated with Jetpack.

Mullenweg said in his announcement that he expects CC Search to appear on WordPress.org within a few weeks.

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