Copyright Considerations for Using Images in

Course Materials and/or Student Assignments




Students will be asked to take their own photograph(s).


--if you want to keep copies of their assignments to show students in future courses (and the assignments contain only original work), you will need permission from each student.  (The URL below has a form instructors may use. You may edit this as appropriate.) Note that there is a distinction made between electronic copies and paper copies. If you have questions, contact Rosemary Chase in the University Libraries Copyright Office (


Students use photographs that are copyrighted following fair use guidelines and instructor would like to be able to show the assignment to students in future courses.


--a student is permitted to HAVE only ONE copy. The student may choose to give the instructor that copy. You must have written permission from the student. If you post it on the web, it must be password protected. The instructor may not use the images for more than two years. See the following URL for more detailed information:


Instructor is planning to use photographs from a Federal government web site.


--if the site is using the Federal Government’s own photos then the images are considered public domain. (For an example, see the United States Geological Survey web site at the URL below.)


Instructor is planning to provide images that are copyrighted following fair use guidelines.


--the images may be used up to two years. Afterwards, they can only be used with permission. (The URL below provides fair use guidelines for both instructors and students.) If posted on the web, the images should be password protected.


Instructor is planning to use an illustration from a book published before 1923.


--books published before 1923 are in the public domain.


--if an image that was taken (made) prior to 1923 is published for the first time in a recent book, then it is not considered public domain.


--if an image was taken prior to 1923 and was originally published prior to 1923, and it appears in a recent book, then it is public domain. Reference should be made to the original copyright date.


Instructor is planning to use images from a virtual gallery.


--copyright restrictions can vary from image to image. It’s best to make an appointment with Rosemary Chase in the University Libraries Copyright Office ( after you have identified web-based images that you would like to use.


Instructor is planning to use images that were copyrighted in another country.


--copyright restrictions from that country should be honored.


--following fair use guidelines (including password protecting images) is an option.


Instructor is planning to use still images captured from a film.


--the fair use guidelines say that for ‘motion media,’ up to 10% or 3 minutes of the film (whichever is less) may be used as a film CLIP.  However, there is no case law, no legal precedent, and no agreement on fair use quantities of stills or individual frames from a film.  The calculations below are for illustrative purposes only – and should not be taken as a serious determination.  On production-quality film, there are 24 frames per second (a frame would be equivalent to one captured image still).  These figures are NOT in any published guidelines, but if you apply the 10% or the 3 minutes from the fair use guidelines, this is what it would yield:


24 frames per second (fps) multiplied by 60 seconds = 1440 frames per minute

60 minutes (a one-hour feature film) = 86,400 frames.

10% of 86,400 = 8,640 frames.

3 minutes = 4,320 frames (3 minutes multiplied by 1440 frames per minute)


In this example, you would be “limited” to 4,320 frames if you are following fair use guidelines AND if these stills are not available for retail purchase.