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Image Research

This guide is a starting place for image-based research at UCLA.

Permissions, Licensing, and Access

What do we mean by "using" images?

If you include images in work that you will be publishing or otherwise sharing beyond a classroom context, you may need to obtain use permission from the image license holders. Here are some resources to guide you through that process.

Explore the other tabs in this box to learn more about the kinds of licenses and permissions that usually apply to images.


Per, "Copyright is a type of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship as soon as an author fixes the work in a tangible form of expression."

Resources for further exploration:


UCLA faculty, staff, and students with specific copyright-related questions may contact UCLA Library staff at:

Fair Use

Per, "Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances."

Resources for further exploration:

Creative Commons (CC) is a nonprofit organization that provides creators with alternatives to copyright. There are six types of CC licenses that allow creators more granular control over how users can share and interact with their work.

More information about Creative Commons:

Searching for images under a Creative Commons license:

Images and other works in the public domain are not subject to any intellectual property restrictions, and may be freely used and adapted without obtaining permission. Such works should still be cited, however!

Some examples of public domain image collections: