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This guide introduces the fundamentals of copyright for the purposes of teaching, writing, and publishing.


Images are also automatically copyright protected, similar to other types of material.  Images and photographs must be cited.  There are large collections of public domain or open access images available for use.

Copyright protects original “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works,” which include two- and three-dimensional works of fine, graphic, and applied art.

Examples include:

  • Cartoons, comic strips
  • Drawings, paintings, murals
  • Photographs
  • Original prints, such as engravings, etchings, serigraphs, silk-screen prints, woodblock prints
  • Sculpture, such as carvings, ceramics, figurines, maquettes, molds, relief sculptures
  • Technical and mechanical drawings, architectural drawings or plans, blueprints, diagrams

Copyright protection for an original work of authorship does not extend to:

  • Ideas, concepts, discoveries, principles
  • Formulas, processes, systems, methods, procedures
  • Words or short phrases, such as names, titles, and slogans
  • Familiar symbols or designs
  • Mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring

Embedding another person’s images online without permission may infringe upon the copyright holder’s exclusive right to display their work publicly.

Google Image Search

  1. Go to Google Images

  2. Enter your search term, and click Search.

  3. On the results screen, click Tools below the search box to open an array of tools for narrowing the results.

  4. Select Labeled for Reuse or other appropriate usage category from the Usage Rights drop-down menu.

    Image of license drop-down on google search interface

  5. The results visible will narrow to those that fit your usage rights choice

  6. Browse to choose a desirable image, and check EACH IMAGE for a specific license statement

  7. Link back to and cite the image source AND license statement as you reuse the image in a presentation or slide

Medical Image Collections

Copyright Registration