Images and copyright
Photographs, tables, maps, works of art, illustrations, etc. that are printed or published on the Internet are protected by copyright. Should you want to use copyrighted images (those not in the public domain and/or without a Creative Commons licence), you usually need the permission of the copyright holder.
Images that may be used without obtaining permission
There are many collections of images under different licencing agreements that may be used without first obtaining the permission of the copyright holder. Licences allow for different types of usage. Usually images may not be used in commercial contexts and may not be altered. Some licences allow free usage of images, for a period stipulated by the copyright holder. It is therefore important to follow the licencing agreement carefully. Licences usually require users to acknowledge the copyright holder.
This material can be used for educational purposes within KAU, but not externally:
Artstor Artstor Digital Library, a database with more than 3 million images in art, architecture, humanities and science. These images may be used freely for educational purposes, but you always need to supply a reference for each image used. Click on "Cite this item" to obtain the reference.
Britannica Image Quest The library database comprises more than 2 million images. These images may be used freely for educational purposes, but you always need to supply a reference for each image used. Click on “Cite” to obtain the reference.
You can use the occasional single image in presentations with the support of Bonus copyright access.
This material can be used for educational purposes and externally:
CC Search/Openverse A search tool that allows openly licensed and public domain works to be discovered and used by everyone. Please verify the licensing status and attribution information independently before reusing the content.
Flickr Comprises images under different licences, including some under CC licences. Select “Creative Commons” from the “Any licence” dropdown menu.
Pexels Free image library and search engine for other image collections.
Pixabay Free images and videos that you may download, modify and use royalty free for anything. Pixabay has its own licence equal to CC0. You do not have to acknowledge the copyright holder, but we recommend that you do. (Pixabay also provide a choice of professional photos. Those images are marked with the Shutterstock logo.)
Smithsonian Open Access - images from museums, archives with CC0-licence.
Unsplash These photographs are free to use. You do not have to acknowledge the copyright holder, but we recommend that you do.
Wikimedia Commons This database includes images, music and sound files under Creative Commons (CC) licences.
31 Free Public Domain Image Websites Link to article about various image sites.
Creative Commons licences
Creative Commons (CC) is a licencing system that stipulates the usage of Internet material. The licence clearly indicates the rights and limitations of usage. A CC licence may only be used for copyrighted material and one of the basic requirements is that the copyright holder should be acknowledged.
Acknowledging copyright holders
There is no standard format for referencing free image sources. To reference material under a CC licence, we recommend that you include the title and link to the image, the name of the copyright holder, and the type of CC licence. There is no requirement to acknowledge the copyright holder when using images with CC0-licences, but we recommend that you do.
Obtaining permission from copyright holders
If you want to use images or other material produced by others and not covered by licences or agreements, you need to obtain the permission of all copyright holders.
- Contact the photographer, artist or other copyright holders first
- A copyright organisation may assist you with questions about usage and permission
- Indicate in which context you want to use the image and how it will be published when obtaining permission
- Obtain permission in writing and save the document. If you use copyrighted material without permission you risk incurring legal action