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Images: Finding and Using Images for Research and Instruction: Copyright and Citing Images

A guide to finding images for classroom, Internet, publication, and presentation use, including links to sites with information about legal issues in using images.

How can I legally use images?


If you're not sure, write for permission!

The following resources are provided for information and guidance. Nothing on this page constitutes legal advice. If the information provided in these resources does not answer your questions, please contact a lawyer or the office of the University Counsel if you are a BGSU instructor or staff member. The librarians at the University Libraries cannot give legal advice, although we will help you find resources to answer your questions. When in doubt, contact the copyright holder and ask for permission.

BGSU Specific Resources


Image Specific Guides and Resources

Boston University Libraries' Image Copyright, by Ruth Thomas.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Copyright -- from the Visual Resources Association.

Digital Image Rights Computator -- from the Visual Resources Association. "The Digital Image Rights Computator (DIRC) program is intended to assist the user in assessing the intellectual property status of a specific image documenting a work of art, a designed object, or a portion of the built environment. Understanding the presence or absence of rights in the various aspects of a given image will allow the user to make informed decisions regarding the intended educational uses of that image."

Copyright and Fair Use from Stanford University -- proposed guidelines for academic use of digitized images. See also Website permissions.

Copy Photography Computator -- from the Visual Resources Association. Use it to assess the different rights associated in a photographic reproduction.

University of Texas Crash Course in Copyright from the Georgia Harper of the UT Office of the General Counsel. This tutorial has an format selector to guide users through specific copyright scenarios.


Also see Copyright in Higher Education Elements Resources. This is a project of Clemson University, Furman University, and the University of South Carolina. It compiles a variety of resources on copyright in higher education.

Digital Dissertations and Theses

Digital dissertations and theses, as well as ePorftolios, can have special copyright concerns, because they are often freely accessible on the internet. Carefully review the requirements of the BGSU Graduate College and the OhioLINK ETD, as well as the copyright restrictions on any images before digitally publishing your dissertation.

Citing Images

As with any work of intellectual property, you should identify your sources for images.  Consult your preferred citation style manual (APA, MLA, etc.) for examples and as a guide for your citation.

Citing Images - APA Examples -- from the University of Maryland University College.

Image Workstation Help -- from Reed College.

Citing Images -- from Colgate University