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Kaua'i Community College Library

Find Films & Images

Copyright & Fair Use of Images

If you add images to your work, you need to make sure you are not breaking copyright law. Images that are not in the public domain are protected by copyright laws. Just because an image is online does not mean it's in the public domain. Images can still be protected by copyright, even if a creator or © is not clearly stated.  In general, images used in a classroom presentation, for a scholarly lecture, or in an unpublished assigned paper, fall under the concept of Fair Use or the Teach Act.  For a description of how this applies to instructors and to students, check out Colgate University's Digital Images and Copyright page.

Britannica ImageQuest

Britannica ImageQuest

The Library subscribes to the Britannica ImageQuest database which contains over 3 million images that can be used for academic work. They cannot be used on open websites. 

The database has a citation tool that will generate a citation for the image in the style format of your choice (MLA, APA, Chicago).

Finding Open Access Images on Google

Google Graphic


Google Doodles February 7, 2014


Google's Image Search allows you to find large numbers of images. It is not, however, a depository for copyright-free images or images that are in the public domain. As a general rule, you should assume that all images found through a Google search are protected by copyright. The following sites provide information on how to find and cite images that can be used without copyright infringement.

Other Digital Image Sources

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Citing Images

Iiwi Native Hawaiian Bird



Iiwi. [Photograph]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest.

APA citation example

There are many different ways to cite images, depending upon the citation style you are using. This guide from Simon Fraser University covers examples of in-text and reference and works cited lists for MLA, APA, and Chicago/Turabian styles.