Banner Image

Copyright @ NSCC

Copyright information for NSCC faculty, staff and students.


Use these web-based repositories to search for content that is free to use and share. Remember to check the license terms and include a credit - Giving credit is a fundamental component of academic integrity.

Images with a CC0 license or images in the public domain do NOT require a credit. They are free to use without attribution unless including credit is a requirement of your assignment and is required by your instructor. CC0 images are an excellent option for brochures and posters.

Use this NSCC Library IMAGE subscription resource for your teaching, handouts or student projects.

Searching for Images

Assume the content you find is protected by copyright unless there is a statement that states otherwise.

Use a Google Search Filter to find Images you can Copy & Use

You can filter your image results to show only images that are labeled for reuse:

1. Type  your search terms into a Google search box. Select Images.

2. Select Tools – a new menu bar will appear below.

3. Select Usage Rights from the new menu bar and then select Labeled for reuse.

4. Your image results will now be filtered -- Results include only images Labeled for reuse.

5. Click on the image, until you land on the webpage where the image is hosted, to confirm that the image can be used. Look for the name of the creator and usage terms or a Creative Commons (CC) license.


NOTE: Please do not use the BING search engine. The filter tool in Bing does not work as advertised.
Bing filtered image search results consistently include copyright-protected content.

Consider searching for images from public domain repositories or images with creative commons (CC) licenses. Open source and CC images are free to use and share.
See the Finding Images tab for more information.

Where did that image come from?

Reverse image web searching tools may be able to answer this question.

  • Drag and drop the image file into one the reverse image search tools (see links below), then review the results.
  • Try using more than one: results vary as each tool uses a different search algorith

Reverse Image Search Options


Creative Commons

Using a Creative Commons image? Include 4 elements iin your credit:
TASL - Title, Author, Source, License.

The image license type is included in the reference.

Ella the Snow Dog by John Talbot [Flickr] is licensed under CC BY 2.0
For more information on Creative Commons go to the Creative Commons License section of OER guide.

NSCC Guidelines

  • As an academic institution, NSCC faculty and students are expected to include attribution for all copied works.
  • When your assignments include images that you have copied you must include a reference for the source.
  • Check with your instructor about whether a specific citation style is required.
  • Support for creating APA references is available from campus librarians.
  • Web-based support can be found here: NSCC APA Citation Style.

Credits vs References

A credit line under a visual is the equivalent of an in-text citation. It provides acknowledgment to the creator and provides enough information to point the reader to the full reference. The reference list is the complete list of all the sources you have used and cited in the creation of your document.

Creating Brochures for Assignments?

  • Your credit for images does not have to impact your design.
  • Use a small type size and place the references in their own separate section on the brochure.
  • A well created reference makes it easy for the reader (your instructor) to locate the source for the copied content.
  • If you purchased visual content under a license or are using photographs you took you don't need to include attribution, unless this is a requirement for your assignment.

Need to create a photo reference for an assignment?

In-text credit that links to reference

Surfer walking out on icy water to the waves near Halifax. Koreski. (n.d.)


Koreski, J. (n.d.). Surfer walking out on icy water to the waves near Halifax [Photograph]. All Canada Photos/ Universal Image Group. Retrieved from Encyclopedia Britannica ImageQuest database.

It is acceptable to create a separate image credit list. If you are combining image references and text references into one reference list, include the format as part of the title information. For example: Surfer walking out on icy water to the waves near Halifax [Photograph].

Loading ...

What is a Royalty Free Image?

Royalty Free does not mean no cost.

A royalty based fee schedule requires ongoing payment based on the number of times the content is used.

Royalty Free means a single payment (the permission fee) covers multiple use of the image without additional payments. It allows for more than one use of the image for the fee paid.

You pay for the image, but it is free of royalties or ... royalty free.