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London Metropolitan University

Can you use this in your coursework?: Images

Can you use this in your coursework?


Different  types of images

If you want to use an image belonging to someone else in a piece of coursework which is being created purely for assessment purposes within the University, then you are permitted to do so, but you must remember to acknowledge where you got it from using correct referencing techniques (just as you would for a book or a journal article from which you have quoted). 

However, you must be aware that photographs, maps, illustrations, graphics, and any other kind of image are all considered to be artistic works under UK Copyright Law (even if they are not considered to have any kind of artistic quality). This means that, if the coursework in which you are using the image is going to be published (this includes placing material online), then you would need to seek the permission of the rights holder in order to use it - otherwise you would be breaching copyright. 

Taking a photograph of an artistic work - for example, a painting - is also an infringement of the artist's copyright if permission has not been sought.

The Library has a subscription to Bridgeman Education which is a free and copyright-cleared image resource for education. It enables users to access millions of high quality digital images, illustrations, photography and video clips. Subject areas span fine art, history, literature, theatre, religion, philosophy and much more. The 21th century copyright-cleared images are from museums, galleries, artists and private art collections. Images from the continually updated archive can be downloaded for coursework or to accompany presentations.

Bear in mind that if there is no copyright for an image you want you use, you should always ask for permission to use any image.  Consent should always be obtained in writing.  It is advisable to keep any letters or emails you receive in case of any future dispute. Issues related to images are not only in the area of Copyright but also in Consent.

The Visual Arts Data Services (VADS) is another database containing images copyright-cleared for use in UK Higher Education. This collection contains over 100,000 images relating to art and design.

Some people make their photographs or other images available for use under the Creative Commons Zero licence, which means that the copyright holder has waived all rights over their reuse, and you are free to use these images in your work, whether or not it will be published. The following websites can help you to locate such images:

The Creative Commons section on Flickr

Openverse (formerly CC Search)

Free Images

Photo Everywhere