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CIS 111: Composition & Communication II: Images & Copyright

This guide includes library help information specially tailored for students in CIS 111. Spring 2019

What Is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the Congress of the United States to the authors of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.  This protection is available to both published and unpublished works.

Copyright Friendly Image Resources

The sites listed on this page have content that are either in the public domain or under a creative commons license. For any resource you use, make sure you look at the permissions so that you are in compliance with legal and ethical measures.

How to search on Creative Commons and give attribution:

Low-Cost Image Sites

Fair Use

What Is Fair Use?

  • "Fair Use" allows the use of copyrighted materials under certain circumstances.

Fair Use for Educational Purposes

  • Fair Use for educational purposes is acceptable in the US and other countries. This usually covers the use of images in papers, presentations, and lectures.
  • The use of images that will be posted on open-access sites may not be permitted by databases or museums.

What Can You Do?

  • Always look for a statement of copyright or ownership.
  • Always read the website's terms of use for images.
  • Always cite the source of each image you use.
  • Contact the copyright owner, museum, website owner, etc., to determine if the image can be used for your project or if you have any questions concerning the use of an image.

Public Domain

A public domain work is a creative work that is not protected by copyright and which may be freely used by everyone. The reasons that the work is not protected include:
(1) the term of copyright for the work has expired
(2) the author failed to satisfy statutory formalities to perfect the copyright, or
(3) the work is a work of the U.S. Government.

Works Cited:

Gassaway, Lolly. (2003, November 4th). When U.S. works pass into the public domain. Retrieved from

Copyright Friendly Audio Resources

Copyright Friendly Video Resource