Multimedia: Images

Copyright and images

Images are like other creative work and are protected by copyright. If you are including them in your work then you should make sure your use of them is legal. This means only using what is necessary and relevant to your work and acknowledging the artist or creator of the work.

Situations where it may not be necessary to seek the permission of the copyright holder to use the image:

  • The University subscribes to a number of image resources which are licensed for re-use in an educational context and which are listed on this page. Adhere to any instructions as to how the image can be used and how to provide sufficient acknowledgement.
  • Creative commons licences are designed to promote sharing of copyright material and often allow reuse. This can be a useful way of finding images to use in your work if you can't find a suitable one in our licensed databases. Use the Openverse tool to filter your search by licence status. 
  • Copyright exceptions allow you to use copyright material in an educational  settings but you must abide by the concept of "fair dealing" 
  • A list of free image resources is also available but you should still check the guidelines on how they should be used as while they might be free to view they are not necessarily free to re-use.

Further advice on using copyrighted material in your studies, postgraduate thesis or teaching is available from the University's policy website


Referencing images

If you are reproducing images in your work then the image should be referenced in the same way as any other resource you are using and in the referencing style required by your School.The information to be included and the format will differ depending on the referencing style but typical information for including is:

  • Creator of the image
  • Year
  • Title
  • Source of the image
  • URL the image is available from
  • Date you accessed it


You should also include any copyright statements or licensing term indicated at the source for example the details of the rights-holder or the type of licence it has been produced under.

Key image databases (licensed)

Other Image Resources

Creative Commons

If you are using Creative Commons licensed materials then you must follow the licence conditions. Find out more about Best practices for attribution.

Freely available images

University Collections

The University of St Andrews Photographic Collection has been growing since the early 1840s, when significant contributions to the development and advancement of the new medium were made by prominent members of the University. As a result, this collection is one of the oldest in Britain and has become one of the largest collections documenting Scottish culture and landscape.

Further information on obtaining copies of photographs and appropriate use can be found on the Order copies page.