Copyright and Fair Use: The Basics: Finding Images for Lectures and Publications
Biomedical Image Databases
The databases below offer images and/or multimedia under fair use guidelines. Most are licensed by the Levy Library for the Mount Sinai community; some are freely available.
Permission to Use
U.S. fair use guidelines allow limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Copyright holders retain rights for reproduction, redistribution and reuse of images and multimedia.
Online images and multimedia present a special problem. An unresolved legal question is whether an image or multimedia clip within another work, such as a journal article or a database, is a "whole work" in itself.
Copyrighted material licensed for use in teaching: Levy Library licenses a number of image databases, e-books and other resources with provisions that authorize users to download and use multimedia content without permission for most educational purposes. Users must, however, obtain permission from the copyright holder to incorporate works from these resources into print or online publications.
Creative Commons: Some academic, scholarly or not-for-profit organizations make content available under a range of Creative Commons' licenses. Media in Wellcome Images and MedEdPORTAL, for example, are available for use under Creative Commons' licenses.
Public domain: Many images in databases and on Web sites from U.S. government agencies, for example the CDC's Public Health Image Library (PHIL), are in the public domain and are thus free of any copyright restrictions.