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Finding Images, Audio, and Video: Copyright & Citing

Find multimedia in online resources provided by the library and freely available on the web. Learn to cite multimedia resources in your research.


Before using any image you find on the web, make sure that the owner does not object.

  • Site authors often provide a statement concerning how their work can be used. Follow their guidelines.
  • Even if an item does not have the copyright symbol on it, copyright does apply.
  • Unless the site specifically states "free clip art" or something similar, contact the site author to determine if/how you can use their work.
  • On most image search engine sites, users are linked to the originating web site on which the pictures are located.
  • Should you wish to use any picture, photo or artwork you see during the search process, you must obtain the appropriate permission from the owner of the material.

At the very least, be sure to correctly cite where you got the image.

Citing Images, Sound & Video

Images or pictures that you decide to use in a presentation or research papers must be cited. Only those that are obtained from royalty free clip art, such as the clip art available in Microsoft Word or Powerpoint do not need citing. Any items obtained from the web or scanned from a print source should be attributed to the owner of the copyrighted work.

As a general rule, the following elements are needed in the citation:

  • Artist's Name, if known  
  • Title of the image, if known (if not, use a description)
  • Institution where held, if known.
  • Title of article or book (if applicable)
  • Author of article or book (if applicable)
  • Title and Date of magazine (if applicable)
  • Database name (if applicable)
  • Date of access if online or publication if originally from print material
  • URL (if applicable)

Example: Gatorade Sales

PepsiCo. PepsiCo 2000 Annual Report. "Gatorade Sales". 14 Aug 2001.

For citing video, art, sound, and more, see instructions at the Yale Writing Center.