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Student Copyright Guide

Where can, and how do I, find images/videos that have no copyright restrictions?

The University of Derby subscribes to a number of databases that contain images and videos that have been pre-cleared for use. These include databases such as Bridgemann Education, Freeimages, SCRAN and Wellcome Images. You can find a list of these databases at the Indexes and Databases page, filtering by resource type 'Audiovisual'.


Many images on sites such as Flickr are uploaded under a Creative Commons licence that allows users to use, reproduce and/or adapt the material. It is always important to check the terms of the licence before using these images: there are different levels of usage permitted, and some licences require that you make any resources you have created using these images freely available under Creative Commons.

You can use the Creative Commons Search facility to search sites such as Flickr, Google Images, YouTube and Fotopedia for Creative Commons-licensed images and videos.


This guidance from the Gov.UK Intellectual Property Office is a useful explanation of what to do if you want to use images and photographs within your work. Copyright notice: digital images, photographs and the internet

There are also a wide variety of websites on the internet that provide copyright-cleared or public domain images for us - see the box below for a selection of these.


Can I take a photograph of a copyrighted work?

You will always need to obtain permission of the copyright owner in order to take a photograph of a copyrighted work, unless the work is a sculpture or other 3D piece of artwork on public display. A photograph is considered a derivative work, and copyright law solely invests the right to create derivate works in the copyright owner.

You may take photographs of works that are in the public domain (for artistic works, the duration of copyright is the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years), regardless of who owns them. However, be aware that many galleries and museums have terms of entry that prohibit or restrict photography of exhibits.


All the webpages linked below contain images that are in the public domain or have been licensed for free use.