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Lemieux Library
Lemieux Library


Guide to finding and using images.

Overview of copyright and usage guidelines

When you use a photo or image created by somebody else, you must use it ethically and provide citation (or attribution) information for it.  

You also need to follow the laws or guidelines about using the image, which may include copyright (including fair use), public domain, Creative Commons, open access, a specific license agreement, etc.

Information about properly using and citing images can be found on most web sites in this guide. Each site may have different rules, so read this information carefully and comply with all usage guidelines.

Learn more about copyright pertaining to U.S. government works here.

More information about copyright is available on the Seattle University copyright policy guidelines page.

Citing images

When you use images or photos in a presentation, web site, research paper or other project, they must be cited according to the citation style you are expected to use for the class or publisher (APA, MLA, etc.). Any images obtained from the web or scanned from a print source should be attributed to the owner of the copyrighted work.

The following elements may be required in the citation:

  • Artist's name, if known
  • Title of image
  • Title or description of image
  • Institution where held, if known.
  • Title of article or book (if applicable)
  • Author of article or book (if applicable)
  • Title and Date of magazine (if applicable)
  • Database name (if applicable)
  • Date of access if online or the publication if originally from print material
  • URL (if applicable)

Some of the sites in this guide give rules for providing proper citation or attribution. You should research those rules and follow them as well as following the expected citation style.

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