Copyright: Using Images

Copyright advice on creative rights regarding research submissions to the Repository.

In the course of your studies you will no doubt have reason to include images in your work, whether in a presentation, an essay or your final thesis. It is very easy to assume when looking for images (especially online) that because they are free to view and easy to find that they are also free to re-use in whatever way you see fit. However this is not the case.

Learn more about using free-to-use images and Getty images (staff).

Free to use


As with other copyrighted works, and every time you seek to use an image in your work, remember to:

  • Check the source of the image you intend to use.
  • Seek permission if necessary .
  • Fully attribute the image in your work.


Exceptions to copyright can protect you up to a point and there are a variety of places where you can source licence free images.

You do not need to seek permission and although attribution to the photographer is not mandatory, it is appreciated.


Sourcing free images

Some of the websites where you can find free images include Unsplash, Pexels or Pixabay.

Check the Learning Technology Support team iCity page for more.


Copyright free images (iCity)



Google Image Search

This guide from Google explains how you can filter images by licence status: Find images you can use & share

It is still prudent to check the licence status of an image once found on Google. A reverse image lookup site like TinEye can help with this.


Creative Commons Licenced Imagery

Wikimedia Commons is a collection of images with a CC marking you are allowed to use as long as certain requirements of the appropriate licence is met.

For example, an image may be under a CC BY licence, which means you can both share and make your own changes to the work as long as the original source/author is attributed and you say what changes have been made.

Image of Parkside and Curzon Building City Centre Campus

An example of image use Figure 1. Parkside and Curzon Building. (Wikimedia Commons, Bs0u10e01) CC BY SA 4.0 https://

BCU Getty - Staff Access

The University has a subscription with Getty Images that all staff can access. Please only download the images you need as there is a limited amount available over the period of the subscription. Do not share account details with students or non-staff members.