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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.

Finding Creative Commons Images

Creative Commons logo in a heart

When using Creative Commons images, be sure to verify the details of the license on each image you find. See the Creative Commons page for help understanding Creative Commons licenses. 

This guide contains links to many sites with freely usable Creative Commons images.

Finding Images in the Public Domain

You can use Public Domain images any way you like because they are either free from copyright or the owner waived their rights through a CC0 license. Visit the Public Domain section of this guide to learn more. Some sites also include restricted works, so follow the directions to limit your results to the public domain.

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. 

This guide contains links to many sites with freely usable Public Domain images.

Attributing Images

Including images in your project is a great way to add interest and convey ideas.  Images should include an attribution statement. Using sites like Creative Commons and Wikimedia Commons makes this simple since they clearly state the provenance of images included in their databases.

An attribution statement should include:

  1. The name of the image (if there is one) ideally formatted as the URL where your veiwer can find the picture.
  2. Name of the photographer or owner of the image.
  3. A link to the Creative Commons license, if one exists.

Here is an example:

Photograph: Svetla-hrob/ Luděk Kovář/ CC-BY-SA 3.0