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Images in the Classroom

Images are subject to copyright protection. Most images found on the web are copyright-protected and must be used in accordance with the Copyright Act and license terms, unless they explicitly indicate otherwise. Follow these copyright best practices for using images in teaching and learning at UNB.  

Where did the image originate?

Created by an Instructor 

If the image is your original work, go ahead and incorporate it into your teaching. 

Copied from Digital Source

If you found the image on the web, check the “terms of use” or permissions to ensure that copying and sharing are permitted. If you cannot locate license terms, assume the image is protected by copyright.  

Creative Commons Licenses are popular tools among creators that specify the terms of use for online content, such as images. Works in the public domain are materials no longer covered by copyright law where the term of copyright (the life of the author or creator plus fifty years) has expired. Explore image collections with less copyright restrictions that are intended for mass distribution:

Images with Creative Commons licenses may still have specific terms of use attached, such as attribution.

If you are sourcing images from e-books, check the “terms of use” or permissions to ensure that copying and sharing are permitted. To use content from UNB Libraries’ e-books, explore this “check permitted use” tool.

If you are sourcing images from online textbooks or other online materials from the publisher, check the “terms of use” or permissions to ensure that copying and sharing are permitted.

Copied from Print Source

If you sourced the image from print, you can copy up to 10% of images, within the limits of fair dealing, from a book or an article. For instance, if a book or an article list 20 figures, you can copy 2 figures within the limits of fair dealing. 

What is the context for image use?

Teaching Materials Intended for Display or Presentation 

Explore online resources for images with less copyright restrictions. If you are unable to find open alternatives to the copyright-protected image you wish to use, you can still use it with conditions. The educational institutions exception, section 30.04 of the Copyright Act, enables instructors to temporarily display copyright-protected works available on the web in the classroom under specific conditions. In an online teaching environment, to meet these conditions you must 

  • credit the creator and source of the image, 

  • use the original image—not someone else’s copy, 

  • not circumvent digital locks (such as passwords, encryption software, access codes, and digital watermarks) or any notices prohibiting distribution, 

  • limit image use to display or presentation purposes, such as lecture video, in order to restrict further dissemination.  

Teaching Materials Intended for Distribution – Downloading, Printing, or Sharing between Students

Explore online resources for images with less copyright restrictions. If you are unable to find open alternatives to the copyright-protected image you wish to use, you can still use it with conditions. Fair dealing enables instructors to incorporate copyright-protected works available on the web in the classroom under specific conditions where you must: 

  • review and confirm the image is essential for teaching a particular concept, 

  • review and confirm no openly available image exists as a suitable alternative to the copyright-protected one  

  • attribute the creator and source of the image, 

  • use the original image—not someone else’s copy, 

  • not circumvent digital locks (such as passwords, encryption software, access codes, and digital watermarks) or any notices prohibiting distribution, 

  • take steps to limit further distribution—for instance, include a notice in a slide presentation that lets your students know that reproduction of this content outside of course use is prohibited.

FAQs

How do I use works such as graphs, charts, maps or other images in my teaching?

If an image is part of a larger copyrighted work, it may be copied within the limits of fair dealing or educational institutions exceptions for lecture presentation. If the item is a stand-alone publication, it may require copyright permission before further copying. When sharing entire third-party works sourced from the web in a virtual classroom, linking rather than uploading is the best practice. If uploading a copy is necessary for teaching, be sure to check if no suitable licensed or open access equivalents can be used instead, ensure that you credit the original source, use a legal copy of the original, do not circumvent digital locks or any notices prohibiting distribution, and remove it at the end of term. When linking to online content does not fit your teaching needs, we encourage you to submit a request to reserves@unb.ca. Library staff can guarantee the content is shared within the limits of copyright law and licenses.

Can I show an image from a website to my students in class?

Yes. The educational internet use exceptions to the Copyright Act permit the copying or communicating of an entire work from the web in the classroom provided you identify the original source and utilize a legal copy that does not contravene digital locks or any notices prohibiting the use of the work.

Can I or my students create new works or mashups using copyrighted content?

Yes. When a user creates a new work based on parts of protected works, the most relevant exceptions in the Copyright Act are the Mashup and Fair Dealing exceptions. When creating a mashup, you must identify the authors of the different works involved, utilize a legal copy of the originals, and ensure that the new work does not have a significant adverse effect on the originals. See this workflow for more details about creating transformative media projects.

Can I provide photocopies of images to students in my class?

Yes. You can provide photocopies of images to your students as long as the images come from a larger copyrighted work and your copying meets the limits of fair dealing guidelines. If an image is a stand-alone publication, it may require copyright permission before further copying. Please contact copyright@unb.ca for more information.

Can I post images for my students on Desire2Learn?

Yes. Materials uploaded to Desire2Learn, however, must fall either within the terms of UNB Libraries licence agreements, educational exceptions, or fair dealing.

UNB Libraries strongly encourage instructors and faculty to use the Course Reserves when dealing with images and other course materials.