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Finding Images


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Sam Cheng
Copyright Coordinator
Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

(905) 845-9430 ext. 2173

Creative Commons & Public Domain

This page includes Creative Commons licensed and public domain images that can be used in projects where fair dealing does not apply (e.g., for a decorative purpose). While images from library databases listed on other pages of this guide can be used in student assignments and internal educational projects, they cannot be used in public facing projects due to licence restrictions. 

There are three types of copyright free or friendly images:

  1. Public domain: In Canada, copyright of a work expires 70 years after the death of the creator. A public domain work can be freely copied and used.
  2. Creative Commons (CC) licensed: The creator of a work has waived some rights so the work can be freely copied and used. Attribution is generally required. Other additional restrictions such as non-commercial uses, no derivatives, and share-alike may apply.  
  3. Free with no or some restrictions: Similar to Creative Commons, the creator of a work has waived all or some of the rights so it can be freely copied and used. There may be additional conditions such as non-commercial uses. 

It is important to pay attention to the type and conditions of use on an image that you want to use: 

Image Search Engines & Directories

General Photographs & Graphics

High Resolution Photos 

Illustrations & Icons 

Public Domain Images from Museums, Universities, Libraries, and Governments