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Plagiarism: Copyright

This guide will help you learn about plagiarism and how you can avoid it in your writing.

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 This protection is available to both published and unpublished works.
See UK's Copyright Resource Center

Copyright Friendly Image Resources

Listed below are some different websites that are great places to turn to when looking for various media. These sites 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.

Instructions for how to search on Creative Commons:

  • Highlight the type of content you want to search (example: Google Images or Flickr ).
  • Then enter your search terms in the search box (example: blood pressure monitor)

Additional information:

  • Click here for information on the different CC licenses as well as how to reuse and attribute works.
  • Wondering how to give attribution for images you use? Click here.

Low-Cost Image Sites

Fair Use

What Is Fair Use?

  • "Fair Use" allows the use of copyrighted materials under certain circumstances.
  • Stanford University Libraries has a great article on the four different factors for determining fair use.
  • Many countries allow for fair use of images.

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.

Fair Use, Fairly Used

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