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Copyright: Free Images

Images Free to Use Under MCHS Licensing

Images from these databases may be used by Marshfield Clinic Health System employees for internal education and patient care.  Please use appropriate citation.  

Free Images


Here are several excellent sources for images in the public domain and creative commons-licensed content:

Medical Gallery of Blausen Medical 2014 - Excellent source of labeled, anatomical illustrations - free to use through Creative Commons

Burst from Shopify:  Free stock photos

CDC Public Health Image Library (PHIL) - Free to use images from a variety of subject areas

College Art Association Image Sources - Links to free, restricted and unrestricted, image banks.

Google Advanced Image Search - Use the “Usage Rights” field to limit by license type.

Library of Congress: American Memory - A free “digital record of American history and creativity.”

Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs Online Catalog - Photographs, prints, drawings, posters, and architectural drawings, and more.

National Cancer Institute Visuals Online - The collection includes biomedical, science, and patient-care related illustrations and images.  Some images do require permission.  

NeedPix:  These image are freely available under the Creative Commons Zero or CC0 Creatie Commons license.  They can be freely used by anyone for any purpose, whether commercial or non-commercial.  Attribution is optional.  

The Neurological Exam...Made Simple - series of videos on basic neurological examination by Neurologist Craig Brooker - Creative Commons license 

NGA Images: Public domain artworks from the collections of the National Gallery of Art.

NIH Images and B-roll: Please visit the NIH Flickr site(link is external) to view free-to-use NIH health research images, b-roll, infographics, and videos.

NYPL Digital Gallery: Illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs, and more, from the New York Public Library.

Open Clip Art: Clip art that is free to use for any purpose.  Requires setting up an account.  Attribution:  Creative Commons Zero 1.0 License

Openverse: Creative Commons Officially Launches a Search Engine That Indexes 300+ Million Public Domain Images

Pixaby: Free of copyrights under Creative Commons Zero (CCO).  Do whatever you want!  Attribution not required.

US Government Photos & Images:  Public domain images by topic.

Notable collections: NLM History of Medicine, US Fish & Wildlife Service National Digital Library, National Park Service Digital Image Archives, and Smithsonian Images.

Smithsonian Open Access:  You can download, share, and reuse millions of the Smithsonian’s images—right now, without asking. 

Wellcome Images:  All images are made available under Creative Commons licenses.

Wikimedia Commons Browse or search for freely reusable images, free media resources / Photography.

WikiRadiography:  Surface anatomy images made available under Creative Commons license

Image credits: Public domain logo by Enoch Pratt Free Library and Creative Commons logo

Green Wheat Fields, Auvers Vincent van Gogh Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art Open Access

                                                                                             Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art

Legally Using Images

Web Images

Images on the open web are subject to copyright law in the same manner as any other creative work; there is no guarantee that an image is legally available for re-use just because it is freely accessible on the web. All images should be credited.  A minimum citation is:  
Title by Author, via source, copyright information

That said, there are many cases in which copyright law permits re-use:

1. The image is a public domain work. Generally, anything published in the U.S. before 1923 is in the public domain. For more info, check out the Peter Hirtle's Copyright Term and the Public Domain.

2. The image is available under a Creative Commons license. CC images are labeled as such. When using a CC image, be sure to provide proper attribution to the source.

3. The image is otherwise made available for re-use by the content provider. Some websites permit you to re-use their images on your own website, as long as certain conditions are met (e.g. noncommercial use only). In these cases, you can find out whether re-use is permitted by looking at the website’s Terms & Conditions.

4. The image is copyrighted, but re-use qualifies as Fair Use. In the context of using images on a website, you have a stronger Fair Use argument if you are directly commenting on or critiquing the image, or if you are using the image in a way that is transformative. 

  • Fair Use likely does not apply when images are being used solely to make a web page more visually interesting; the use of the image should serve some instructional or educational purpose.
  • Keep in mind that if an image is subject to a license agreement (such as images from library databases), it can only be used according to what the license allows, even if Fair Use would otherwise allow for re-use. 

5. You have permission from the copyright owner.


National Library of Medicine

Images for licensing - Fee may be required

Contact the Library

George E. Magnin Medical Library
Marshfield Clinic Laird Building
1000 Oak Ave.
Marshfield, WI 54449

1-715-389-3532 or 9-3532