Using images

Under the Fair Dealing exception in the Copyright Act, you may use a small number of images from a copyrighted work for educational purposes. These images may be sourced from online, published, or unpublished sources.

This includes the use of:

  • figures
  • graphs
  • photographs
  • charts
  • diagrams
  • maps

Images may be used in classroom PowerPoints, coursepacks, handouts, course management systems, and in student projects and papers. If posting images online, the site must be limited only to the students enrolled in your class (NOT an open website). 

In general, when using images, the following conditions must be met:

  • the original source of the material should always be cited. For example,in order to properly cite images found in a Google image search, you must search out the original page containing the image;
  • the website must not be questionable or clearly using third party materials without the copyright owner's consent (e.g., BitTorrent, file-sharing, or video upload sites);
  • there is no clear and visible posting on the original website that prohibits the use of the image, and
  • you must not break or circumvent a digital lock (such as a password or other technical barrier which restricts access or copying) to obtain a copy of the materials.

Images from published works

Selected images from a print or online publication (e.g., books, catalogues, magazines, etc.) should not exceed 10% of the total images in the publication. Electronic Library resources, such as Art Source or ArtStor, will have specific permitted uses - please check the Libraries' database license permissions search tool before using.

Images found on the internet

Images found on the internet are still protected by copyright. You should check the website's 'Terms of Use', or 'Legal Notices' section to determine if specific permissions have been provided by the copyright owner to allow for use of the website's materials.


  • Google Earth / Google Maps Terms of Service.
  • Some sites, such as flikr, include Creative Commons licenses which will indicate how an item can be used
  • Images that are commercially available, through online stock photo services, are not included under this exception. They should be purchased and the license terms should be followed carefully.

Some other useful image resources - can be found on our resources page

Should you have any questions please contact the Copyright Office.

The Copyright Office makes every effort to provide accurate information but does not offer it as counsel or legal advice.