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Medical Images: Copyright
And Fair Use

This guide provides a starting place for finding and using medical images.

Image Copyright And Ethical Use

Just because an image appears online does not mean that it is freely available for you to use! The following links provide important information on the use of copyrighted materials, including images.  Some of the image databases that Lister Hill Library subscribes to on your behalf include a license for UAB users to incorporate the images in presentations and other works.  Be sure to check the license and/or Ask A Librarian! As for images found online, a good general rule of thumb is: when in doubt as to whether or not the image is in the public domain -  that is, freely available for reproducing - ask permission from the copyright owner before using an image for your purposes, even if it is not for commercial use!

Important Definitions

Copyright - Legal right of creators to control how their works are used by others.  Images may be subject to multiple copyright claims, including claims by artists, photographers, institutions etc.

Copyright term - The period of time a work is covered by copyright.  The copyright term is limited by copyright law.

Creative Commons -  Creators who want more flexibility placed on works, make their images and other works available under a Creative Commons License for public use under certain conditions, such as stipulating that you must credit them as the source and not use the image for profit-seeking purposes.

Fair Use - A provision in copyright law that allows for the use of copyrighted works under some specific circumstances and for particular purposes such as criticism, comment, scholarship, or research.

Open Access - Open Access Images are those that copyright holders have chosen to make available online without restrictions on distribution or reuse.

Public Domain - When a work is not covered by copyright, it is in the public domain.  The public then holds the rights to the work.


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