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As with text-based materials, many images that you will want to use in your teaching are likely to be subject to copyright. This includes photographs, diagrams, and other illustrations whether from printed or electronic sources.

Images contained in print sources which are covered by the University’s CLA Licence may be copied and included in a course pack or otherwise distributed to students. Such images can also be used in teaching materials, including those uploaded to the authenticated online teaching spaces behind an EASE login, e.g. Learn or Moodle.

Beware of images you find online; just because an image is available online doesn’t mean it is free to copy and use without the permission of the rights holder. If you do source images online, seek out Open Educational Resources and use Creative Commons licensed images, or images that are in the Public Domain where the copyright has expired. Open Textbooks are a great source of openly licensed technical images and diagrams.

When using third-party images, it is essential that you give a full acknowledgement or attribution to the creator of the content.  It is also useful to record the source of the image. This is good academic practice and ensures that course materials are clearly identifiable for future use.

Can I include images in a PowerPoint presentation/lecture and then upload it to Learn or Moodle?

This use may be covered by a number of copyright exceptions, such as ‘illustration for instruction’, 'quotation' and 'criticism and review'.

The use needs to be fair dealing; this requires a judgement to be made, and every case is different. Where the amount copied is reasonable and appropriate to the context, it is likely that it can be considered fair dealing.

If possible seek out images that are in the public domain (no longer protected by copyright), or released under an open licence. Pointers on where to find these images can be found in the Finding free stuff – teaching materials section of these pages.

Can I copy an image or figure from a journal article covered by our CLA licence and add it to my teaching materials?

Yes, technically this should be done via the E-Reserve service, and only within our closed teaching spaces such as authenticated online learning environments (Learn or Moodle).

Who owns the copyright in photographs?

Photographs taken on or after 1 August 1989 are protected for the life of the photographer plus 70 years. Photographs taken before 1 August 1989 are subject to varying factors and exceptions.

Contact the ISG Copyright Service for advice.

Can I make copies of maps?

Ordnance Survey usually allow the copying of an area of map roughly equivalent to A4 size. Ordnance Survey are very strict in regard to copyright, and we advise that you seek permission before making copies. Contact Ordnance Survey directly to ask permission. When using Digimap or Google Maps always check their terms and conditions to ensure copyright compliance.


Further Resources

Edinburgh ERA Licence

E-reserve Service

OER Service

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice. For further information please contact: 

Open Education Resources Service

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Scholarly Communications Team

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  • You can book a one-to one video consultation with an expert from our team. If you want to find out more about open access (journals, funding, policies etc ), Copyright & Intellectual Property, General publishing activities (request an ISBN or DOI), or research metrics (using Web Of Science or Scopus) please contact our team via email to book a session at a time that suits you.

Information on this page has been adapted from Copyright Guidance at The University of Manchester, CC BY-NC