Visual Resources Library Images & Policies

The VRL provides images from ARTstor and Macalester’s Art History Digital Collection for use inside the college. You can use these images for any of your presentations, papers, projects, etc. However, once you publish or use the images for anything outside of class or academic purposes, you have crossed the copyright line. In order to use images for non-educational reasons, you will need to seek permission from the copyright owner or else face lawsuits, large fines, and your work being rejected. Protect yourself- if you are unsure about the proper use of an image, just ask.  Contact the VRL at or Librarian Ginny Moran at

Images in the Visual Resources Library collections are copyrighted.
Reproduction of digital images in any format is regulated by law and subject to prior agreement with the owner, publisher or vendor of the item. When using these images, it is the user’s responsibility to observe the rights of the copyright holders.

Students and faculty may download or copy an image for a class, seminar, or conference presentation. Faculty may make images available to students in Blackboard, since it is protected by a firewall. Users may NOT download or copy an image to put on your (or any other) website and may NOT download or copy an image for any other type of publishing without gaining permission from the copyright holder.

Contents of the collection are drawn from a variety of sources and therefore have different rights issues. Individuals and vendors have contributed images to the Visual Resources Library collections. These contributors maintain copyright and also dictate usage of their images. Images licensed from vendors may have restrictions on use, but generally they may be used for educational purposes as long as access is restricted to the Macalester community. Images obtained through copywork fall under “Fair Use”, and are made available to faculty only for teaching. Images falling under “Fair Use” may be made accessible only to the students in the class for a limited duration. In suits of copyright violation, individuals are named, as well as the institution. Willful infringement can carry penalties up to $150,000 and innocent infringement can have penalties up to $30,000.


Fair Use Factors

Gregory Johnson, CC Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

Copyright Tools & Resources

The links below can help you navigate and research the complexities and nuances of copyright to ensure that as a member of the Macalester academic community, you adhere to the rules and guidelines set by U.S. copyright law.  Feel free to contact the VRL or Librarian Ginny Moran with any questions.

  • Creative Commons Licenses
    A guide to the licensing levels provided by Creative Commons, from most accommodating to most restrictive.
  • Digital Image Rights Computator
    The Digital Image Rights Computator (DIRC) program is intended to assist the user in assessing the intellectual property status of a specific image documenting a work of art, a
          designed object, or a portion of the built environment.
  • Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts
    This Code of Best Practices provides visual arts professionals with a set of principles addressing best practices in the fair use of copyrighted materials. It describes how fair use can be invoked and implemented when using copyrighted materials in scholarship, teaching, museums, archives, and in the creation of art.