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Finding and Using Images: Copyright of Images

This guide is intended to help you search for images to use in your projects and research. It is not a comprehensive list of image resources but rather an introduction to the process of locating appropriate images.

Why Worry about Copyright?

Copyright infringement can occur when using someone else's copyrighted work without permission or without exemption under the Copyright Act, and is a legal matter handled by the courts.

To prevent copyright infringement,

  • Look for images that are in the public domain or are licensed for re-use (see Finding Images tab), or
  • Use Fair Dealing principles to legally use materials that have current copyright protection.

SAIT's Copyright Policy

As members of the SAIT community, students should follow SAIT's Copyright of External Materials policy. 

Copyright permission is not required when a student:

  • Makes copies within the Fair Dealing exception. (see next section for details)
  • Uses permanent links to SAIT Library resources and publicly available materials on the internet.
  • Uses materials that are made available on the internet, provided:
    • The copyright owner has posted the materials (i.e., there is no reason to believe that the work violates the original copyright owner's rights)
    • Digital Rights Management measures are not circumvented; and
    • The materials do not have a clearly-visible notice prohibiting educational or research use.
  • Uses works that are in the public domain;
  • Uses factual information or the text of federal and provincial statutes and regulations for educational purposes from every province and territory (except Manitoba, Quebec, and Nunavet)

Fair Dealing Explained

The Fair Dealing exception in the federal government's Copyright Act allows you to use other people’s copyright protected material for the purpose of research, private study, education, satire, parody, criticism, review or news reporting, provided that what you do with the work is ‘fair’.

You can use short excerpts of copy-right protected works for these purposes without infringing copyright. SAIT's fair dealing guidelines defines a "short excerpt" as:

  • up to 10% of a copyright protected work (including literacy work, musical score, sound recording, and audiovisual work)
  • one chapter from a book,
  • a single article from a periodical,
  • An entire artistic work (including a painting, print, photograph, diagram, drawing, map, chart, and plan) from a copyright protected work containing other artistic works,
  • An entire newspaper article or page,
  • An entire entry from an encyclopedia, annotated bibliography, dictionary or similar reference work.


REMEMBER: Even if use of an item falls under the Fair Dealing guidelines, you still need to cite your source!

The information provided on this web page is an edited version of the SAIT Copyright of External Materials policy as it relates to fair dealing. To review the policy in its entirety, go to  and review all parts of AC.2.12, AC.2.12.1, and AC.2.12.1-Schedule A

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