Skip to Main Content

Finding and Using Images

Learn how to find and appropriately use images in your school work and research. Questions regarding this guide can be sent to

About this Guide

Welcome to the Finding and Using Images research guide. This guide is intended to help students and faculty at Santa Clara University find and appropriately use images for their research, assignments, and publications. Use the left-hand navigation to learn more!

What is Copyright?

United States copyright law is contained within Title 17 of the United States Code. Copyright protection applies to "original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression". The law specifies eight protected categories:

  • literary works
  • musical works, including any accompanying words
  • dramatic works, including an accompanying music
  • pantomimes and choreographic works
  • pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  • motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • sound recordings
  • architectural works

The law also grants exclusive rights to copyright holders (Section 106). You've likely heard these referred to as a bundle of rights. They include the rights to:

  • reproduce the work
  • prepare derivative works
  • distribute copies of the work
  • perform the copyrighted work publicly
  • display the copyright work publicly
  • perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission
To learn more about copyright, please refer to the the Copyright Basics document.