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Ethical Use of Media: Images

Use this guide as a resource for locating and citing images correctly.

Finding Images on Google Doesn't Make Them Yours.


Take your own photos

This is the BEST option - YOU get the credit!

You could also draw your own pictures too!


Use Britannica Image Quest

Over 3 million rights cleared images that already have citations!

It's that easy!


Use Public Domain images 

There are many sites out there to help you find images...

See below!

Image Database

User ID: aislstudent  Use Britannica's Image Quest to search millions of rights-cleared images. You can add these to your folder within Britannica. Properly formatted MLA citations are available for any image you find.

When you need to find images for any assignment, start with Britannica ImageQuest! It is a powerful tool and also has an automatic citation-generating function.

Websites for Public Domain Images

Teacher Resources

How To Find Rights-Cleared Images on Google

Find free-to-use images

When you do a Google Search, you can filter your results to find images, videos, or text that you have permission to use. To do this, you’ll use an Advanced Search filter called "usage rights" that lets you know when you can use, share, or modify something you find online.

Find images, text, and videos you can reuse

  1. Go to "Settings" just below the search bar
  2. Go to Advanced Image Search for images or Advanced Search for anything else.
  3. Make sure you have your search words in the "all these words" field
  4. In the "Usage rights" section, use the drop-down to choose "Creative Commons Licenses"
  5. Lastly, click on  "Advanced Search" at the bottom of the page

Note: Before reusing content, make sure that its license is legitimate and check the exact terms of reuse. For example, the license might require that you give credit to the image creator when you use the image. Google can't tell if the license label is legitimate, so we don't know if the content is lawfully licensed.

Types of usage rights

  • Creative Commons Licenses: You are free to use & modify (you DO still need to CITE your sources!)
  • Commercially: If you want content for commercial use, be sure to select an option that includes the word "commercially."


How usage rights work

Usage rights help you find content that you can use above and beyond fair use. Site owners can use licenses to let you know if and how content on their sites can be reused.

The usage rights filter in Advanced Search shows you content that is either labeled with a Creative Commons or similar license, or is in the public domain. For images, the usage rights filter also shows you images labeled with the GNU Free Documentation license.

“Find Free-to-Use Images.” Find Free-to-Use Images - Search Help, Google, 2017,

How to Find the Original Source of an Image on Google

What is Creative Commons?