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Copyright Guide: Images & Copyright

Images and Copyright

Images created today automatically have copyright protection.  You cannot assume you have permission to use images that have been posted on the Internet, even for educational or non-commercial purposes.  

When using images, you need to ask the same questions you would for any other copyrighted work:

Licensed Images

Owners of copyrighted images sometimes give permission to use these images through licenses. 

Listed below are some databases with licensed images.  Remember that many of these are for educational use only; be sure to read the terms of use for each database!

Public Domain Images

Images without copyright protection are in the public domain, ususally because the copyright has expired or the image was created by the U.S. government. 

Listed below are some databases with public domain images.  Not all of the images in these databases are in the public domain; be sure to read the copyright information and terms of use for each database!

Meet with a Librarian (Copyright)

Meet with a research librarian to discuss a copyright question.

Featured Resource

CC Search: Find content you can share, use and remix

CC Search:

A portal for searching sites that contain images with Creative Commons (CC) licenses.


This site is intended for informational purposes only.  Library staff members cannot give legal advice.  For legal advice, you should contact an intellectual property attorney.

Davidson College Library Research Guides are licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Mailing Address: Davidson College - E.H. Little Library, 209 Ridge Road, Box 5000, Davidson, NC 28035