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HUM DEV 344/544: Dying, Death, and Loss

Using Images Responsibly

Including images in your project is a great way to add interest and convey ideas. It's easy to search the internet for images, but many of the results are protected by copyright. To respect creator's rights and avoid copyright infringement, search for works that are in the public domain or have a Creative Commons license.

This page shares a few ways to find reusable images for your projects and how to provide attribution for them.

Public Domain

Works in the public domain may be freely used by anyone because they are no longer protected by intellectual property rights, did not originally qualify for protection, or because the creator forfeited protection.

Although public domain works can be used without restriction, you should still provide attribution for works you use in assignments. Be sure to check the source for recommended attribution statements.

The following resources offer options for searching for public domain images. Some also include restricted works, so follow the directions to limit your results to the public domain.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is a nonprofit organization that helps people share creative content using free legal tools. Creators can decide how they want their work to be available to other people and select an appropriate CC license. Creative Commons benefits students and other people looking to reuse creative works with plain-language licenses.

Attributing Images

Images should include an attribution statement. Creative Commons licenses make this simple since they include the necessary information. In general, an attribution statement should include:

  • Title of the image (if one is provided)
  • Author of the image
  • Source of the image (usually as a URL, can be linked in the title)
  • Link to the Creative Commons license, if one exists

Here is an example:


"Gravestone St Giles Church Chollerton" by Martin Dawes is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.