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Copyright Information: Image Resources

Below are some charts, copied and adapted from UBC's Image Sources website page that outlines some excellent resources for you. They are broken down into three generic categories (but please feel free to peruse all of them). 
Reverse Image Search

TinEye Reverse Image Search allows you to search for alternative image sources.  This can be helpful when your current source does not permit your desired use.

 

MRU Library Resources

Don't forget to check out image resources available through the MRU Library and listed in the MRU Library Resources page of this guide!

General (All Subjects)

 

Source

Blackboard?

Public site?

What is it?

Special Considerations

  American Memory

Yes

No

American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. 

Please see the Library of Congress Legal Page for more info.

The British Library's Flickr Commons

Yes

Yes

The British Library provides access to over a million public domain items that can be modified and adapted. Many of the items are historical, and include drawings, illustrations, images, handwritten letters, geological diagrams, cartoons, maps, comics, posters, and decorative scrolls. 

Please see their Terms of Use.

Calgary Public Library, Community Heritage and Family History Digital Library

Yes

No

A collection of digitized images and maps from Calgary and Alberta.

You can use images from these collections for educational purposes with the following attribution: Courtesy of Calgary Public Library Community Heritage and Family Histories Collection.

If you have questions, need a higher-resolution version, or would like permission to include material on a public website, please contact Carolyn Ryder, 403-260-2650,

carolyn.ryder@calgarypubliclibrary.com

Creative Commons Search

Yes

Yes, with citation

A meta-search tool. Can be used to find CC-licensed images on Google Images, Fotopedia, Europeana, etc.

Remember to verify that works are CC-licensed by following the links to resources that appear in your results.

Data Hub

Yes

No

Maintains a list of links to collections of materials which are in the Public Domain or which have significant portions of their collections in the Public Domain.

Please see their Terms of Use.

Flickr Creative Commons Search

Yes

Yes, with citation

Use the Flickr Advanced Search to search for CC-licensed images.

Look under the “Additional Info” on an image page for licensing info and terms of use.

The Flickr Commons

Yes

Yes, with citation

Public domain photography collections supplied by libraries and museums from around the world. Some samples: Vancouver Public Library, the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Images are all in the public domain, and have no known copyright restrictions.

Foodie's Feed

Yes

Yes

Free food photography.

Photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used for commercial purposes.

Freepik.com

Yes

Yes*

Approximately 174,215 photos with Creative Commons licensing

*Be sure to comply with the terms of the particular CC license that is applied.

Google Advanced Image Search 

 

*Yes (see comments)

*Yes (see comments)

Use the “Usage Rights” option to search for copyright-free materials, and select the limiter for “Commercial Use”

Not all photos found via Google Advanced Image Search can be used – you must search for them properly (see column, left).  If you select the limiter for “Commercial Use”, these images can be used for commercial purposes.

Gratisography

Yes

Yes

Free high resolution images with no copyright restrictions.

Photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used for commercial purposes.

Images Canada

Yes

Yes

A gateway site to images of Canadian events, people, places and things. All images can be reproduced, in print and/or digital format, for the non-commercial purposes.

Please see their copyright page for more info. Note that you cannot use it for commercial purposes

IM Free

Yes

Yes, with citation

Curated collection of free images, available for commercial use.

Most images licensed under CC License 2.0, but check before you use them.

Internet Archive Images

Yes

No

This library contains digital images uploaded by Archive users which range from maps to astronomical imagery to photographs of artwork. Many of these images are available for free download.

Please see their terms of service here.

ISO Republic

Yes

Yes

Free high-quality, copyright-free photos.

Can be used for personal and commercial projects. See terms here.

Libraries and Archives Canada

Yes

Yes, with citation

Historical materials, including images, videos, and written texts, many of which are in the public domain.

Please see their copyright page for more info.

New York Public Library

Yes

Yes, with citation

As of January 2016, more than 160,000 of the NY Public Library’s public domain images have been released in the highest available resolution.

Please see their Terms and Conditions.

The Noun Project

Yes

Yes, with citation

An extensive collection of Creative Commons-licensed icons and symbols.

Icons may be licensed under different CC licenses, so check each license for terms of reuse. A citation will be provided for you when you download an image.

Open Images

Yes

Yes

Open Images is an open media platform that offers online access to audiovisual archive material to stimulate creative reuse.

Please see their Terms of Use.

Open Street Map

Yes, with citation

Yes, with citation

User-generated maps and data from around the world, free to use under an open license.

See the Copyright and License page for information on how you can use these images and data.

Pexels

Yes

Yes

Pexels provides high quality and completely free stock photos licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. All photos are nicely tagged, searchable and also easy to discover through our discover pages.

Please see their License page.

Picjumbo

Yes

Yes

Free stock photos for personal and commercial use. Search by categories including animals, food, technology, and more.

Attribution appreciated. Most uses allowed. See terms of use here.

Picography

Yes

Yes

Free, hi-resolution photos. Subscribe to get new photos delivered to your inbox each month.

No restrictions on use.

Pixabay

Yes

Yes

Photos and clipart published under CC-Public Domain license (free of copyright restrictions).

Note that sponsored Shutterstock images are also shown during searches but are not free of copyright restrictions. Those images are marked with a gray background and display the Shutterstock logo.

Public Domain Sherpa - Public Domain maps

Yes

No

A list of 21 sources for maps in the Public Domain (in the US).

As the site itself notes, most links lead to sites with a mixture of Public Domain and copyrighted materials - the ultimate responsibility for checking and adhering to copyright falls to the user.

Startup Stock Photos

Yes

Yes, with citation

Free photos of start-up culture, people working, office spaces, etc.

Photos published under CC License 4.0. Can be used for commercial use.

StockSnap.io

Yes

Yes

Hundreds of high resolution images added weekly. Free from copyright restrictions. All photos on StockSnap have been released under Creative Commons - CC0. This license allows you to download, copy, modify, and distribute the photos, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

All photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used for commercial purposes.

Stokpic

Yes

Yes

Free stock photos that deal with a variety of subjects. New photos added every two weeks.

No copyright restrictions; public domain.

Superfamous

Yes

Yes, with citation

Mostly geological, biological, nature, and aerial photos.

All photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used for commercial purposes.

Travel Coffee Book

Yes

Yes

Free travel photos from around the world. 10 new photos every 10 days. You can download all released photos at once.

All photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used for commercial purposes.

Unsplash

Yes

Yes

Free high-resolution stock photos depicting a wide variety of subjects. 10 new photos are released every 10 days.

All photos are licensed under CC License Zero. Can be used for commercial purposes.

US Government Printing Office

Yes

No

US federal government publications created from 1976 onwards are usually available online from the US Government Printing Office.

Federal government publications which are prepared by federal employees as part of their official employment enter the Public Domain upon creation, per Title 17, Section 105 of the United States Code. Works created by contractors are generally subject to copyright - with the rights retained by the creator. For a detailed explanation of the Public Domain as it pertains to US Federal Government publications go to askGPO and type "Public Domain" into the search box.

Wellcome Images

Yes, with citation

Yes, with citation

CC BY 2.0 and CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licensed images of thousands of years of human culture.

See "Terms of Use" for instructions on attribution. Verify license before use.

Wikimedia Commons

Yes

Yes

20 million freely usable image, sound, and video files. All files are Public Domain or CC-licensed.

Check the “Licensing” section for an image to find any terms and conditions for reuse / instructions on attribution.

Wikimedia: Public Domain Image Resources

Yes Yes

Public domain image resources is a copy of the master Wikipedia page at Meta, which lists a number of sources of public domain images on the Web.

Please see their Terms of Use.

 

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Art & History

 

Source

Blackboard?

Public site?

What is it?

Special Considerations

Europeana

Varies

Varies

An enormous treasure trove of historical digital resources from museums, galleries, and archives throughout Europe. Photos, artworks, drawings, objects, documents, and films.

Many images are in the public domain or have permissive licenses, but check individual images for terms of use (some are not openly licensed). The advanced search tool allows users to filter by images that can be freely and openly used or by specific license.

Flickr Commons

Yes

Yes

Public domain photography collections supplied by many libraries, galleries, and museums from around the world.

Images are all in the public domain, and have no known copyright restrictions.

French Revolution Digital Archive

Yes

Varies

The Images of the French Revolutionresource is composed of about 14000 images of items such as prints, illustrations, medals, coins, and other objects.

Free of charge for non-commercial use, please contact utilisation.commerciale@bnf.frfor commercial uses.

Getty Open Content Program

Yes

No

The Getty has made 4,600 high-resolution images of their museum collection free to use, modify, and publish for any purpose. Includes paintings, manuscripts, photographs, sculpture, etc.

From the Search Gateway, select the link for “Open Content Images”, which allows for images available for reuse. Images should be attributed with the statement “Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program”.

Images Canada

Yes

No

A centralized database of digitized historical images from cultural institutions across Canada.

Citation must be formatted as follows:Copyright symbol, ©, Name of partner institution ("Source" on image page), Image ID number, and the statement: "Reproduced with permission from the [partner's name] website (partner's website address)”.

Internet Archive Book Images

Yes

Yes

Millions of historical images from books scanned by the Internet Archive are available and searchable via tags on Flickr. The pictures date from 1500 to 1922 and include historical photos and drawings.

Images are all in the public domain, and have no known copyright restrictions.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection Online

Yes

Yes

As part of its Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) initiative, the Met now provides access to 400,000 high-resolution digital images of public domain works in its collection. Works covered by the policy are identified on the Museum’s website with the acronym OASC and can be used freely and without permission for non-commercial use, including scholarly/educational uses in any media. Includes iconic paintings, photographs, etchings, sculpture, etc.

Image citations must include the creator and source and the URL "www.metmuseum.org." The website's terms and conditions stipulate that images should not be modified and cannot be used for commercial purposes.

Museum of New Zealand Collections Online

Yes

Yes

The museum, also called Te Papa Tongarewa, has made 30,000 high-resolution images from their collection available for download and reuse under a CC BY-NC-ND licence.

At the Search Gateway, select the button for “with downloadable images”, which allows for images available for reuse. Select the image, then select the “download” button beneath the image. The attribution statement will be provided on the download page.

New Old Stock

Yes

Yes

Cole Townsend curates this collection of vintage photos from public archives. The images are free of known copyright restrictions.

Clicking on the link under each image will take you to its original post on Flickr, where you can get more information about the image. See Flickr's statement about public photo archives in the Flickr Commons, which have indicated "no known copyright restrictions."

Open Glam Open Collections

Yes

Varies

OpenGLAM (Open Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) curates an extensive list of Open Collections from several cultural institutions.

See licensing information from individual institutions for applicable terms of reuse.

the Smithsonian Institute

Yes

Yes

More than 40,000 works being made available for high-resolution download—expanding regularly with new acquisitions

Images can be used for all non-commercial purposes.

Trove--National Library of Australia

Varies

Varies

Close to 400,000,000 digital resources including many images, primarily from Australia. Also includes books, maps, music, historic newspapers.

Limit your search to "freely available" content using the advanced search. See each resource for specific licensing information.

 

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Sciences

 

Source

Blackboard?

Public site?

What is it?

Special Considerations

Encyclopedia of Life

Varies

Varies

A collaborative online encyclopaedia with entries on all kinds of biological entities on Earth

In most cases, content is made available under a Creative Commons license. Check the license for any applicable terms of reuse.

Earth Science World Image Bank

Yes

No

Maintained by the American Geological Institute (AGI), and provides over 6,000 quality geoscience images.

Images are copyrighted, but contributing photographers to allow their images to be used for non-commercial purposes. For full terms, see their Image Use page.

NASA Images

Yes

Yes

NASA Images provides public access to NASA's image, video, and audio collections in a single online resource. (See also: NASA on Flickr Commons).

NASA imagery is generally not protected by copyright, so you are free to use it for educational or informational purposes. 
Note: this permission does not extend to any use of the NASA logo.

BioMed Central

Yes

Yes, with citation

Not an image database. An online publisher of open access biology and medical journals which are Creative-Commons licensed. Figures and graphs in articles are also CC-licensed and available for reuse.

Tables and figures published in articles on BioMed Central are available for use under the same CC-BY 2.0 or (starting Feb. 3, 2014) CC-BY 4.0 license as the journal articles. Advance permission is not required, but be sure to include a full citation.

PLOS One

Yes

Yes, with citation

Not an image database. An online publisher of open access biology and medical journals which are Creative-Commons licensed. Figures and graphs in articles are also CC-licensed and available for reuse.

Tables and figures published in articles on PLOS One are available for use under the same CC-BY 3.0 license as the journal articles. Advance permission is not required, but be sure to include a full citation.

Morphbank:

​Biological Imaging

Yes, with citation

Yes, with citation

An open web repository of images for use in international collaboration, research, and education in the biological community. Images not password-protected are CC-licensed

Images are available under CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license, or under a less restrictive license. Password-protected images may not be used without written authorization from copyright holder.

Science Image

Yes, with citation

Yes, with citation

More than 4,000 free science and nature images and videos curated by CSIRO, Australia's major science research organization. Search by keyword or filter by categories including animals, insects, soil science, fire, water, and more.

Images are available under CC BY 3.0 license.

 

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Licensing Information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 International License.

Attribution

Content on this page has been copied and adapted from the "Copyright at UBC" website, created by the University of British Columbia under a CC BY 4.0 International License.

Have a copyright question?

If, after browsing this guide, you still have questions or require additional information please contact MRUcopyright@mtroyal.ca, or 403.440.6618.

The Copyright Advisor is also available in EL1132 for drop-in office hours:

  • Tues: 9:00 - 10:30 am
  • Thurs: 2:30 - 4:00 pm