The Catholic University of America

Copyright and Digital Images

II. When Copyright Permission Is Not Required

C. Summary

When deciding whether or not permission is necessary before digitizing an image, you need to ask the following:

Is the work itself and the image of the work in the public domain?

If the answer to both parts of the question is yes, then permission is not required.

If the answer to either part of the question is no, then conduct a fair use analysis to determine whether permission is required. The Visual Resources Advocacy Statement and the Visual Resources Association guidelines may be helpful.

If fair use is appropriate, permission is not required.

If fair use is not appropriate, then permission must be granted by the copyright owner, and/or obtained through a license or purchase agreement.

For an overview of the "public domain-fair use-seek permission analysis," see Making Copies, a guide written for student handouts and course packs, but the analytical structure is equally applicable to images.


Return to the Copyright and Digital Images Page

links updated 6/5/08 rab