Using images and audiovisual material can be challenging due to the multi-layered rights involved. There are a wide range of images and artistic works created by individuals or generated by computers that encompass a host of commercial models. As with text-based material, these are all covered by copyright whether they are from print or electronic sources. The types of images may include graphs, charts, diagrams, fine art, illustrations, cartoons, photographs etc.
To support students and teachers in the legal and ethical use of images, we suggest that you focus on the types of image you are easily permitted to re-use. Creative Commons licensed images, copyright free (public domain) and educational content collections are often appropriate sources to draw upon. Always check the terms and conditions of re-use.
Does the 'fair dealing' exception apply to images?
This is a grey area as you would probably wish to use the whole image and not a partial image. You could claim 'fair dealing' if you used a low resolution image or decided that you could rely on an educational exception. This would need to be for non-commercial research purposes, for private study, quotation, criticism or review or illustration for instruction. If you wanted to use an image in a published work you should always seek permission from the copyright holder and keep a copy of your correspondence. Fair dealing would not be applicable to using a high resolution photograph in these circumstances.
Creative Commons (CCL) are pre-prepared licences that are intended to help copyright holders distribute their work; they define how it can be used by others without the need to grant permission each time someone wants to use it.
You may find it useful to know that you can carry out a search in Google to locate material licenced under Creative Commons using the advanced search feature and specifying the usage rights, try it here.
Creative Commons, has a number of model licences which authors can apply ‘as given’ or adapted to their requirements. The licences contain four main elements:
These elements then combine to form six licences plus a final CC Zero or public domain licence which purports to waive all rights to the material it is applied to.
Permission to re-use this section given by the University of Liverpool Library Service.