|Digital images are electronic resources that need to be used responsibly and with an awareness of copyright and ethical use best practices. Most databases and web sites provide information about how their images can be used. It is important to read this information carefully, and comply with all usage guidelines. Usage guidelines can vary considerably, so be alert to differences and details.|
You may encounter the below terms in your efforts to use images ethically and legally. Brief definitions and links to more information are included here.
Creative products and results of intellectual work, including designs, images, symbols, art, and architecture.
For more information:
Legal right of creators to control how their works are used by others. Images may be subject to multiple copyright claims, inclucing claims by artists, photographers, designers, institutions, corporations, or others.
The period of time a work is covered by copyright. The copyright term is limited by copyright law.
For more information:
When a work is not covered by copyright (because the copyright term has expired, the creator has released the work, or the work was never copyrighted) it is in the public domain. The public then holds the rights to the work.
A provision in copyright law that allows for the use of copyrighted works under some specific circumstances and for particular purposes such as criticism, comment, scholarship, or research. Fair use is determined by the following four factors (from Chapter 1, Section 107 of the Copyright Law):
To help you determine if your use is a "fair use," consult one of the fair-use checklists in the box to the right.
"Free and unrestricted online availability," according to the Budapest Open Access Initiative. Open Access images are typically images that archives, libraries, museums, or copyright holders have chosen to make available online without restrictions on distribution or reuse.
"Fair Use is an essential part of copyright law. Its purpose is to allow you to use or quote copyrighted material without permission or payment in order to create new culture"
- from Fair Use is a Right! video by Kristian Perry for the Center for Social Media
Ethical guidelines for documentary photography and visual journalism.
Media-related copyright and Fair Use information, codes, best practices, videos, and toolkits
Statement on scholarly image use and Fair Use from the Visual Resources Association