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Copyright and Fair Use: The Basics: Finding Images for Lectures and Publications

Citing Images and Multimedia

It is necessary to acknowledge the source of an image, video or audio file in your presentation or lecture even if the work is licensed under Creative Commons or is in the public domain.

Different citation style formats are available to reference multimedia content.  If the image is to be reproduced in a publication, you will need to follow the reference style guide for the journal or book publisher.

Example: blastomyces

Direct FA stain revealing the histopathology of lung tissue blastomycosis due to the organism Blastomyces dermatidis.

Image courtesy of CDC/Dr. William Kaplan - From Public Health Image Library

Related Resources

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.