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The internet is cluttered with infinite amounts of information and image sources and knowing which websites to use whilst searching can be difficult. Staff and students need to be aware of image usage and copyright on the web, as people who misuse these resources are found to be in breach of the Copyright Act. There are ways to best ensure how you can legally use images off the internet. If you are searching for images on the web, it is safe to obtain images that are in the Public Domain. Public Domain images allow users to obtain the image and use them in any way. The Copyright protects an individual’s original idea expressed in various forms. It is important to know where the image has originated from and that the owner has given users the exclusive right to amend the original work.

Deakin University has strict compliance with image usage and copyright acts. University Copyright manager Astrid Bovell asserts that ‘Staff using images from the Public Domain should indicate the images in their work with an abbreviated (PD) or if it’s a whole document/module, a statement like “all images used in this document/module/site are public domain images” is required.

For staff and students, below are some useful Public Domain websites:

For further information on how to find and use re-usable images, please check out the following Deakin Copyright step by step guides on how to search for images:

Finding re-usable images in Flickr

Using Google images to find re-usable images

Finding images licensed under creative commons

For all staff copyright queries, please contact our Deakin Copyright team at

*Authored by Tammy Trinh, Learning Innovations Intern with the Faculty of Business and Law