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Images: Finding, Using and Citing

Creative Commons Licenses

Images: using and giving permission

Using an image:

When you find an image, check its Copyright status. 

All images you find on the web may not be free to use.

They may have certain licenses. 

Giving permissions for your images to be used:

When you create an image, how will you want it to be used? 

Do you want to own copyright?

Do you want to share it widely but have certain restrictions?

What are the Rights?


If you find an image that is copyrighted, you need to seek permission from the copyright owner on how to use the image or if you will be allowed to use the image at all. Typically, after you receive permission, you must give full credit to the owner of the image. 

Creative Commons:

Some images are licensed under Creative Commons which means the owner of the image has given permissions and set restrictions on how her/his images can be used.  This licensing method allows us to use images but also know how the image owner wants to be credited and how the images can be used. You can set licenses for images you create and publicize through platforms like Flickr and Google. 

Public Domain:

Images that are available to be used for free by all and have no copyright restrictions are said to be in the public domain. You must always check if images are in public domain or not. 

Creative Commons Licenses

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons is a global nonprofit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through the provision of free legal tools. Creative Commons (CC) licenses comprise six different licenses that rightsholders can add to their copyrighted works so others can use those works. The licenses permit reuse, transformation (e.g., revising and remixing), and redistribution. All six licenses require source attribution. 

The following infographic provides an overview of the six CC licenses. 


Image: Creative Commons Licenses from Open Textbooks and Resources for Faculty by George Washington University Libraries is licensed under CC BY.