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Civil & Environmental Engineering 103: Using images

Resources and tips for citations in blogging.

Using images


This image is in the public domain and can be freely used by anyone.

(Can a monkey hold copyright? Read more about this monkey's selfie and ensuing legal battle here.) 

Finding free images to use

Images often have copyright restrictions and thus require permission to reproduce. In the online environment, where it is easy to copy and paste, err on the side of caution and try to only use images that are copyright free or have open licenses. 

Finding copyright-free or open licensed images:

  • Flickr Creative Commons search
    "Public Domain" and "Public Domain Dedication" are the two most open types of licenses. If using images with other licenses, make sure to read the fine print and credit/link back to the image appropriately.
  • Creative Commons Openly Licensed Images
    Locates images on the web that are openly licensed. 
  • Pixabay
    Free images, videos, and vector files you can freely use.
  • Google Image Search
    Use with caution. Google Image Search allows you to refine your search to images that are licensed for "noncommercial reuse" (look under Search Tools > Usage rights), however the filter is not perfect. Always check back at the image's originating site for copyright information. 

Want to use an image you found somewhere else? Look around the the image's originating website to see what kinds of reuse policies the owner has. Always link back to the original image.

Charts, graphs, tables and infographics

Like images and photos, most charts, tables, graphs, and infographics are protected by copyright laws. However, the data itself can be freely used if you want to create your own expression of the data. Just be sure to give credit to the data's authors and link back to the data source!

Example:

2015 Public transportation spending by census tracts - Berkeley

Spending on public transit - Berkeley

Source: Geographic Research, Inc. (2011). Map with 2010 Consumer Expenditure Data retrieved January 26, 2016, from SimplyMap database.

Copyright © 2014-2016 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Except where otherwise noted, this work is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License.