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Research Guides

Eastern Washington University Libraries

Copyright & Fair Use

A guide & list of resources for EWU faculty, staff & students regarding copyright & fair use.

How can you use it?

Articles/Book chapters


  • Generally if you are making a copy of an article or a chapter of a book it is assumed that the copy is for personal research purposes and therefore falls under the Fair Use guidelines. You should not post a copy of the article or chapter online in any form or distribute additional copies without seeking guidance first.


  • 17 USC §106(2) grants the copyright owner the exclusive right "to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work." A work consisting of editorial revision, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a "derivative work." In order to claim an infringement, the owner of the original copyright must show that the derivative work incorporates a portion of the copyrighted work in some form and is substantially similar to the original. For further information please take a look at the FAQ section of the Music Library Association 
  • Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement of the copyright owner's exclusive rights of reproduction and/or distribution. Files distributed over peer-to-peer networks are primarily copyrighted works, there is a risk of liability for downloading material from these networks. To avoid these risks, there are currently many "authorized" services on the Internet that allow consumers to purchase copyrighted works online, whether music, ebooks, or motion pictures. By purchasing works through authorized services, consumers can avoid the risks of infringement liability and can limit their exposure to other potential risks, e.g., viruses, unexpected material, or spyware. See the FAQ section of the U.S. Copyright office


  • All audiovisual works, such as films and videos, are subject to the exclusive rights outlined in Sec. 106. Although rights of reproduction, adaptation, distribution, public performance, and display belong to the copyright holders, the doctrine of fair use (17 USC 107) applies to these audiovisual works, as it does to all published and non-published works.

Photos and Images

Open Images:

Images from sources on this page are available for use on the open web. You are free to use these images in multimedia projects, websites, blogs, portfolios, etc, that are open and available to the public. When you use these images, you do not need to restrict access to your class or academic environment.

Always read and comply with the use restrictions for specific image sources. Always cite images someone else created.

Images should not be sold or used in commercial products or for commercial purposes.

Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr contains millions of photographs shared by Flickr users under Creative Commons licenses, and is a strong source for contemporary travel, nature, people, and design photographs.

Several overlays to Flickr offer enhanced search functionality and additional features.

Visual search of Flickr photographs. Uses computer vision to recognize visual content, rather than relying on text tags. Limit to "free to use" or "free to modify."

Enhanced search of Flickr content. Limit to Creative Commons.

Search overlay to Flickr. Retrieves images more images by using related tags. Select "Advanced" to limit to Creative Commons content.

Searches only Creative Commons content in Flickr. Additional tools for blogs and websites, including resizing tool, photo credit builder, and code generator.

Open Access Photographs & Historical Images

Images from the Library of Congress, now in the public domain.

Historical and contemporary images contributed by participants. Millions of high-resolution images of art, architecture, design, people, historical events, diagrams, maps, and more.

Primarily historical images organized into 18 categories, including Women, Science, Cities, Natural World, Science, and more.

Yale's digital collections, including images from the Peabody Museum, Center for British Art, University Art Gallery, Library Map Collection, and Walpole Library Prints and Drawings.

Open Access Clip Art

Open collection of icons.

Icon collection in the Wikimedia Commons.

Icon collection in the Wikimedia Commons.

Websites with Free Images

These sites offer at least some images for free general use. These sites also contain advertising and/or offer images for sale.

Read each site's conditions for use carefully. Different images from the same site may have different use restrictions, too. Make sure you know what they are.

Online source for free stock photo images. Images are licensed for most commercial and non-commercial uses digitally and in print. Stock photography contributed by members. Owned by Getty Images & affiliated wtih iStockphoto.

Clip art and photography from Microsoft and partners.

Search image tags or browse by category. MorgueFile license clearly explained. Affiliated with dreamstime stock photo.

A general rule for making & requesting photocopies

Typically you can request a chapter from a book as long as it doesn't represent a significant portion of the entire book - most ILL departments use the 10% rule.

It is often better to request a loan of the full book especially in the case of anthologies, theatrical plays or musical scores.

We cannot request a photocopy of an entire issue of a journal but in some cases, (especially when the issue is more than 5 years old,) it is possible to request a loan of the journal issue instead. Please contact the ILL department if you need help with a full journal issue.


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