Unless an image or visual is specifically licensed as being
we should assume that it is covered by Copyright, even if there is no specific copyright statement noted.
Images that are licensed under CC or are in the Public Domain provide a great way to enhance your OER work and course materials, without traditional copyright barriers.
Here are some great places to search for images online.
Collections such as Pixabay, Pexels & unsplash (see web-based images) now display both pay-to-use and free-to-use images in search results. Check carefully. Note that these collections are not using CC licensing - they have developed their own licenses.Best practice: ALWAYS Cite or attribute your source (regardless of license), noting where you found the image. See our APA guide or the Attribution page for help with this.
Images published in a textbook or source protected by Copyright
Because diagrams and images in a textbook could be considered "an entire artistic work", we are limited by Fair dealing as to how many images we can reproduce from a single source.
Options & Alternatives:
Many search engines now offer an option to limit your results to those that are CC licensed or in the public domain. See the CC & Public Domain tab for recommendations!
Image collections that may be free to use:
Check the image you select carefully. These collections now offer both free to use alongside pay-to-use images!
If you're looking for images using Google image search:
Note: If you don't see a specific CC license or note about public domain, you must assume the image is subject to Copyright.
Contact the Library's Copyright team if you are unsure about the licensing of a particular image.
Royalty free and stock images show up frequently when searching the web. Though the word "Free" may be mentioned on websites with these collections, these images are generally not free to use and come with specific licensing and copyright expectations.
Examples of website that sell licenses to use royalty free / Stock images:
Even image repositories/websites that offer CC licensed or public domain images for use may display links to images that require payment and may have specific licensing requirements. Read carefully!
Before you spend money on a license to use or reproduce any image:
If you have questions or are unsure of the license you are granted through these services, please contact the Library's Copyright Team for advice.
This guide was designed solely for informational purposes for Georgian College students, faculty & staff.
All other users are encouraged to check and confirm the information with their institution.
This site is prepared by library staff and is not reviewed by legal counsel.