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Copyright @SVCC: Digital Images

Basic introduction to copyright in the educational environment.

Using Digital Images

Any material created today and fixed in a tangible medium is automatically protected by copyright, including images you may find online. Do not assume you have permission to use images that have been posted on the Internet, even for educational purposes. Unless the image includes a clear indication that it resides in the Public Domain, that it is protected by a Creative Commons license, or is otherwise available without restrictions, you should follow the same guidelines as you would for printed material. 

Image Collections

Library database collections may include copyrighted images. Through agreements with database vendors copyright owners sometimes give permission for use of these images by means of vendor-consumer licenses. You may use the images in these databases for educational use, but be sure to read through and abide by the terms of use for each database.

Licensed Image Databases

Digital library with 1.8 million images from some of the world's top museums, artists, libraries, scholars, and photo archives.
Terms and Conditions of Use
Saskia Art Images
A collection purchased by the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) featuring 30,000 digital images of paintings, sculpture, architecture, and architectural sites.
CARLI Digital Collections Saskia Art Images Collection Rights and Usage Information

Public Domain Image Databases

Some of the images in these databases may not be in the public domain, so be sure to check for copyright and terms of use.

New York Public Library Digital Gallery
Search or browse through over 800,000 photographs and other images. Some images may be subject to third party rights.
NYPL Website Terms and Conditions
Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online
The collections include photographs, fine and popular prints and drawings, posters, and architectural and engineering drawings that document the history of the United States and the lives, interests and achievements of the American people.
Rights Information


This library guide is published for informational purposes and should not be interpreted as a substitute for legal advice.

Free Image Collections

Free photos and images to enhance your work. Most are CC-licensed, but verify terms of use.

EDUimages by All4Ed

Free library of photos celebrating students—and the educators who teach them.


Browse 20,720 free digital images and high res photos or search the collection.


Free stock photos shared by members. Membership is encouraged.


Millions of images in the public domain or with Creative Commons licenses.


Over 2.6 million stock images, videos and music shared by the community.


Freely useable images shared by members - membership is encouraged.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License