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Using Images at University

Getting Started

Images can be easily found and accessed online and in print, but not all images are freely available for you to use. Copyright, image licensing and other conditions can apply, affecting whether an image can be downloaded, scanned, reused or modified.

When selecting images check any copyright restrictions or terms and conditions of use. This may include photographs you have taken of people.

Copyright, creative commons and public domain

What is copyright?

Copyright law grants a set of exclusive rights to creators of original works to protect their work. You generally need permission to copy or use another person's work, including images.


Fair dealing provisions within the Australian Copyright Act allows students to copy others' work for research or study purposes. Conditions and limitations apply.  For more information see:

What is creative commons?

Creative Commons Licenses allow people to freely and legally re-use artistic works within license conditions. They do not replace or overrule copyright but work alongside and in addition to copyright, explaining how images and other types of works can be reused.

Always check the license conditions to ensure you are meeting all requirements when using an image. Full license conditions are available on the Creative Commons Australia website.

What is the public domain?

The public domain includes works for which copyright has expired or which have no known copyright restrictions.

Images in the public domain can be used, reused and edited as needed. If you are not sure if an image is in the public domain assume it is still under copyright protection.

I have an image already - can I use it?

Before you use an image in your work confirm you have permission to use it.

  • Check the source of the image:
    • Do they provide an image credit or link to the original source?
    • Does it fit within copyright and other permissions?
    • Do you have all the information available to provide an attribution and reference entry?
  • If you have their details you can contact the creator to ask for permission.
  • If you no longer have the image source try using a reverse look up engine such as TinEye or Google Images search by image option.
  • If you are still not confident find an alternate image. Check the Finding Images page for suggested resources.

Photos you've taken yourself

Before taking and using photographs in a university assessment you need to consider the issues associated with taking photographs of people, buildings and artwork.

The Copyright Guide to Photography has some guidelines on photography in these circumstances.

Charles Sturt University acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which its campuses are located, paying respect to Elders, both past and present, and extend that respect to all First Nations Peoples.Acknowledgement of Country

Charles Sturt University is an Australian University, TEQSA Provider Identification: PRV12018. CRICOS Provider: 00005F.