Skip to Main Content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Information Sciences 503: History of Children's Literature--Media Search and Use Guide: Rights and Permissions

Information related to finding and using media for the digital publishing assignment for IS503.

Deciding What to Use: Rights and Permissions

There are a variety of justifications you have to use multimedia or other works. For each multimedia item you wish to use, please be sure you figure out which of the below applies. Please note that regardless of your justification, you should give appropriate credit.

Public Domain Items

"Public domain" refers to material not protected by copyright for some reason. In the U.S. this includes documents produced by the federal government or material published before 1928. Select works after 1928 may also be in the public domain due to a failure to comply with required formalities.

You may need to consult other resources about the copyright term in other countries. Digitized versions of public domain works do not have a separate copyright. However, they may have a license attached (see next section) as a condition of use (see next section)—this includes some licensed library resources. In that case, if you can find a print copy in the library or otherwise legally obtain a copy, you may be able to create your own digitized copy if the license is too restrictive (more information in the Home tab).

Licensed Images (Creative Commons and More)

Media you find online may have a license attached to it, most commonly a Creative Commons license. You should look at the terms of that license to see what it allows you to do with the work. For Creative Commons licenses, note that they are meant allow uses that go beyond normal fair use (so fair use is allowed). Other licenses may prohibit fair use.

Fair Use

Fair use is an exception to copyright law that allows you to make uses of protected works when the uses are justified by a four-factor analysis. If you are relying on fair use you should use the checklist linked below to evaluate each item you are using. Educational and research uses are favored under the first factor, but the other factors are also important and they must be taken together. You may wish to consult some of the best practices documents below as well. One notable theme from those is that for research or critical purposes it is important that images or other media be discussed/analyzed specifically in your text rather than being just an illustration.

Resources for assessing fair use:


If none of the above allow your use, you can of course ask permission! Sometimes this is good to do as a courtesy even if one of the above justifications applies. However, you have to be sure you are asking the actual copyright owner, who in some cases may be difficult to identify. You should hopefully not need to rely on this approach for this class, but if you believe you do please contact Sara Benson or post a note in the Canvas course space.

Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library

Profile Photo
Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library
SSHEL (Room 101)
Main Library
1408 W. Gregory Dr.
Urbana, IL 61801
General Telephone: (217) 333-2305 Information Services Desk Telephone: (217) 244-1864