Fair Use and Permissions

Navigating Fair Use and Permissions for Images and Other Content

Authors of journal articles should consult Section V of the journal publication agreement for complete details regarding their responsibility to secure permissions when necessary and to ensure they are not infringing the copyright of anyone in cases where permission is not sought.

If the use of an image for the sake of criticism or academic purposes adheres to the parameters of fair use, then the use of content for these purposes should offer protection against the violation of other’s copyright. Cautious authors typically seek permission to use images (or other content) as a precautionary measure (or because other circumstances might not be clearly fair use). Even in cases where the use of content is likely fair use, permission is still often sought out of respect for the rightsholder (e.g., the artist, the museum, the photographer, etc.). For information about fair use, please visit: https://copyright.gov/fair-use/.

When Requesting Permissions:

  • Be certain the rightsholder (or request recipient) is aware that you (the author) will not gain any profits or royalties from the publication of the article.
  • Inquire if the permissions or fees are affected by the size or resolution of the image depicted and the intended use of the image. While the permission for commercial use of high-resolution images can be both costly and restrictive, the permission to use a small, low-resolution image is likely to be be less costly and/or less restrictive.

Searching for Public Domain Images

A great resource for locating permission-free images or other content is a public domain repository, such as Wikimedia Commons, or a Creative Commons Zero resource, such as Pexels.com. Even an advanced Google Image search can help locate free-to-use images.

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