Images and illustrations, regardless of whether they are in digital or print format, are all classed as ‘artistic works’ for copyright purposes. This classification includes standalone photographs, works of art or figures within printed text books or online journals. Copyright will usually last for seventy years after the death of the creator.
The use of images from third party sources in teaching (e.g. in lectures or on Canvas) is an area of particular uncertainty form a copyright perspective. Every case is different but where the amount copied is reasonable and appropriate to the context then it is likely that it can be considered ‘fair dealing’. The crucial factor in determining whether copying is permitted will be the nature of the usage itself. If the purpose for which the image is reproduced is covered by one of the exceptions and the copying is fair in that it does not negatively impact on the market for the original materials, then use is likely to be permissible.
It should be noted that use needs to be ‘fair dealing’ and this requires a judgement to be made. For example, where the copying is for the sole purpose of illustration for instruction (i.e. the image reinforces the topic being taught), the work is sufficiently acknowledged and the copying is fair in that it does not negatively impact on the market for the original work, it is likely that the use will be permitted.
To provide another example, if a student posts an image to illustrate a point in an online discussion within Canvas as part of their course, provided the image is sufficiently acknowledged and the use is fair this would also permissible.
One particularly useful approach is to use a low resolution image derived from a higher quality original. The point here is that using a low resolution version of the image within the closed Canvas environment may provide strong support for the contention that the use is fair. Where high resolution copies are made of an image then it may be more difficult to justify the copying as being fair as a high resolution image is more likely to compete with the original work. If you reuse images found on commercial image library sites this will probably not be covered by any of the ‘fair dealing’ exceptions and you may be liable for the licence fee.
If the copying cannot be considered ‘fair dealing’ because it impacts on the rights holder’s ability to commercially exploit their work or the amount copied exceeds what would be fair, the University would have to rely on the CLA licence. However, this only applies where the images are contained within a publication that is covered by the CLA repertoire. See CLA pages for more information.