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Visual Arts: Images

Covers Fine Art; Foundation Diploma in Art and Design; Photography and Video Production

Using images

  • Images from either electronic or print sources, including photographs, illustrations and diagrams, are protected by copyright law, just like written text. When using images it is important to acknowledge and attribute the source fully.
  • Images can easily be found by searching the internet, however they are not all free to use, even for educational purposes. Internet platforms such as Google Images are merely search engines for finding images from different websites. Generally if you want to use images from websites then you will need to obtain the permission (in writing) of the copyright holder. 
  • Some sites, such as Flickr, allow you to search for images that are covered by particular licenses which define what you can do with them, such as Creative Commons.  You can also search directly on the Creative Commons site or go through Google Advanced search using the usage rights box.
  • There are also a number of sites which provide high quality, free, and public domain images which have been made Creative Commons Zero, or CCO, which means their creators have made them available for use by anyone however they like - but do check whether they require crediting or not. Check out Ned Potter's guide here to see a summary of some of some of the best of these.

Copyright Guidance for using images

Image Libraries

Copyright Video

Watch this video for an introduction to the existance of copyright in images.

Referencing images in Harvard

You must reference images according to the preferred referencing style of your faculty. 

We are now using CIte Them Right for examples and styles of referencing, and this includes DMU Harvard. You can find examples of referencing images in Cite Them Right by viewing the 'Media and Art' tab once you have clicked on the Cite Them Right link below:


Free sites for images

Vads: the online resource for visual arts

Vads: the online resource for visual arts

VADS includes a considerable portfolio of visual art collections comprising over 100,000 images that are freely available and copyright cleared for use in learning, teaching and research in the UK.

Copyright & Images

Watch this video for an introduction to the existance of copyright in images.