Public Relations Research Resources: Find Images

How to Legally Borrow Images & Other Media


Public relations professionals often want to borrow images, including video, photography, graphics, etc. created by others, to visualize their work. The Internet has made that easier to do than in years past. However, borrowing without the content creator's permission may trigger legal action under copyright protections. How can PR professionals avoid this problem?

First, an understanding of what the fuss is all about is helpful ....

What is Intellectual Property?

  • Creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.
  • Protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. 
  • See the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to read more about IP

What is Copyright?

What is Creative Commons?

  • Nonprofit organization
  • Provides copyright licenses to share and use others creative work — within certain conditions
  • Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright.
  • Considerations for Licensees (what you need to know before you borrow or modify a work under CC)

Find Media Under Creative Commons

  • CC Search (embeds a CC license search into Flickr, Google Images and other search engines)

More Information about Creative Commons

Examples of Other Sources of Legally Copied Media, etc.