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Can I use that picture?

Series of questions that will help you determine if you can use a picture and the terms, laws and ethics around using that image. 

ARTstor Images for Academic Publishing (IAP)

Add IAP (Images for Academic Publishing) to your search in ARTstor

Identifying images for re-use

Images posted openly on the web are not necessarily the public domain. 

To find reusable images:

  • Find images labeled for scholarly reuse via Google Image Search or Creative Commons 
  • Consider images created by the US government (.gov), which are generally, though not always, in the public domain

Use Creative Commons -- enter Search term under "Find Licensed Content"




Copyright laws for images : was initially registered as a domain name in 1998 by Lesley Ellen Harris.   It has since been a portal for copyright and licensing information for creators, owners, distributors, and consumers of copyright-protected materials.

Section 108 of the US Copyright Code:  Handy spinning wheel chart for libraries and archives regarding section 108 of the US Copyright code.

Copyright and Fair USe

"Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University created a humorous, yet informative, review of copyright principles delivered through the words of Disney characters -- an ironic bit of commentary given Disney's key role in lengthening copyright terms."

The video is is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Ch. 1: Copyright definition

Ch. 2: What things can be copyrighted (2:50)

Ch. 3: Copyright duration and the public domain (3:45)

Ch. 4: Fair Use (6:20)

Ch. 5: Why use Disney cartoons? (8:10)

Seeking permissions

  • ADAGP is the French collective rights management society in the field of the visual arts (painting, sculpture, photography, multimedia, etc.). It represents almost 100,000 authors.
  • Archivision is a stock photo library specializing in the history of worldwide architecture, landscape architecture, public art and design.
  • Art Resource is the world's largest fine art stock photo archive, with more tha 500,000 searchable fine arts images from the world's leading sources, available for licensing to all media.
  • Artists Rights Society (ARS) is the preeminent copyright, licensing, and monitoring organization for visual artists in the United States.  Founded in1987, ARS represents intellectual property rights interests of over 50,000 visual artists and estates of visual artists from around the world (painters, sculptors, photographersm architects and others).
  • Corbis is a creative resource for advertising, marketing and media professionals, providing a comprehensive selection of stock photography, illustration, footage, fonts, creative merchandise, and entertainment licensing and rights representation services.
  • Scala Archives is the largest and most prestigious fine art image archive worldwide. Transparencies and high resolution digital files of works of art from all over the world, covering every age and every field of visual arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, archaeology, the ancient & the modern world, decorative arts, photography, design, fashion etc.) are available for licensing to all media.
  • Scholars Resource is an extensive resource of over 116,000 images provides comprehensive coverage of works of art essential for teaching Ancient Art, Egyptian, Greek and Roman, Non-Western, Early Christian, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Nineteenth Century, Impressionism, American Art, Art of the Americas and Contemporary Art and Architecture.