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Digital Experience Design

Using Images

Just like any intellectual property, images and their use are subject to copyright law. Though images are easy to find online and in other resources, their use is limited by the type of rights or licenses that apply to them. Below, you will find the most common image licenses that you will encounter when searching for images.

Remember, there is no such thing as a simple image search on the internet! When we find online images, it is often impossible to know who that image belongs to or if you are allowed to use it. We recommend using the resources listed on this guide to ensure you are accessing images that can be used, and that you understand the parameters of that use. If you have any questions, please contact your Liaison Librarian or the Copyright Librarian.

 

Using images in your assignments

If you are looking for images to use in a presentation or assignment, look for images with the following rights: public domain, educational use, or creative commons. You will need to provide a citation for every image used (give credit to the creator).

If you are looking for images to edit or remix, look for images with a Creative Commons license that allows for derivatives (CC BY, CC BY-SA, CC BY-NC, CC BY-NC-SA). See below for more information about creative commons licenses. You may not pass off Creative Commons images as your own design or creation.

Copyright

All rights reserved

  • Work is under copyright and may not be shared or used in any way without the permission of the copyright holder. Often a royalty fee has to be paid for use or reproduction of the work.

Public Domain

No rights reserved

  • Works that are not protected by copyright that you are free to use in any way you choose.
  • No restrictions on copying and adapting, no need to seek permission, and no uncertainty about your rights as a user.
  • A work typically enters the Public Domain when its term of copyright expires. But this can be complicated, as the term of copyright often differs depending on a work’s authorship, format, date of publication, and country of origin.

Educational Use

Rights managed

  • The GBC Library provides students, staff and faculty access to works for educational use.
  • This means that the copyright has already been cleared for these items as long as they are used for non-commercial purposes for your academic projects and assignments.
  • From the Library Homepage, georgebrown.ca/llc, use the Databases Link to locate image databases

Creative Commons

Some rights reserved

  • CC is a non-profit organization whose mandate is to make it easier for creators to share their work and/or build upon the works of others consistent with the rules of copyright.
  • Offers standard, easy to use and understand copyright licenses that anyone can apply to their work to allow others to share, remix, or use the work without having to contact the copyright owner to ask for permission.
  • You can use Creative Commons works without worrying about copyright infringement or fair dealing - as long as you know how to use these materials according to the type of CC license chosen by the creator.
  • There are six different Creative Commons licenses:
    • CC BY: This license allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format, so long as attribution is given to the creator. The license allows for commercial use.
      • Restrictions: Credit must be given to the creator
    • CC BY-SA: This license allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format, so long as attribution is given to the creator. The license allows for commercial use. If you remix, adapt, or build upon the material, you must license the modified material under identical terms.
      • Restrictions: Credit must be given to the creator AND Any adaptations made from this work must also be shared under the same license (CC BY-SA)
    • CC BY-NC: This license allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format for noncommercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator.
      • Restrictions: Credit must be given to the creator AND Only noncommercial uses of the work are permitted
    • CC BY-NC-SA: This license allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format for noncommercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator. If you remix, adapt, or build upon the material, you must license the modified material under identical terms.
      • Restrictions: Credit must be given to the creator AND Only noncommercial uses of the work are permitted AND Any adaptations made from this work must also be shared under the same license (CC BY-NC-SA)
    • CC BY-ND: This license allows reusers to copy and distribute the material in any medium or format in unadapted form only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator. The license allows for commercial use.
      • Restrictions: Credit must be given to the creator AND No derivatives or adaptations of the work are permitted (No changes to the original work allowed)
    • CC BY-NC-ND: This license allows reusers to copy and distribute the material in any medium or format in unadapted form only, for noncommercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator.
      • Credit must be given to the creator AND Only noncommercial uses of the work are permitted AND No derivatives or adaptations of the work are permitted (No changes to the original work allowed)
    • For more information about these license types, visit the CC website: https://creativecommons.org/about/cclicenses/

Fair Dealing

Some rights reserved

  • Fair dealing is not a use license. It is a provision in the Copyright Act of Canada that allows for certain kinds of use without the need to pay royalty fees to the creator(s).
  • Fair dealing states that use of a work for the purpose of research, private study, education, parody, satire, criticism or news reporting does not infringe copyright.
  • Fair dealing does not automatically allow you to use works that are under copyright. The use must be considered “fair” based on an evaluation of six elements: purpose, character, amount, alternatives, nature, and effect.
  • Note that Fair Dealing is not the same as Fair Use, which is a provision of Copyright legislation in the Unites States.
  • Learn more about fair dealing in our Copyright FAQ
  • Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42). https://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-42/index.html. Retrieved 2021-12-07