Fair Use and Permissions

Helping our authors navigate fair use and permissions


It can be difficult to navigate a safe course of action when using someone else’s images or content. To ensure you are making the right decisions about fair use and permissions, we kindly request that you use this information to determine the best course of action.

Additional Support for Journal Article Authors

Learn More About the Article Publication Process
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Chicago Manual of Style Citations Guide
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How to Register for a Research Network Membership
How to Make Your Article Open Access
Journal Author Rights & Permissions

Navigating Fair Use and Permissions for Images and Other Content

Authors of journal articles should consult Section V of the journal publication agreement for complete details regarding their responsibility to secure permissions when necessary and to ensure they are not infringing the copyright of anyone in cases where permission is not sought.

If the use of an image for the sake of criticism or academic purposes adheres to the parameters of fair use, then the use of content for these purposes should offer protection against the violation of other’s copyright. Cautious authors typically seek permission to use images (or other content) as a precautionary measure (or because other circumstances might not be clearly fair use). Even in cases where the use of content is likely fair use, permission is still often sought out of respect for the rightsholder (e.g., the artist, the museum, the photographer, etc.). For information about fair use, please visit: https://copyright.gov/fair-use/.

When Requesting Permissions:
  • Be certain the rightsholder (or request recipient) is aware that you (the author) will not gain any profits or royalties from the publication of the article.
  • Inquire if the permissions or fees are affected by the size or resolution of the image depicted and the intended use of the image. While the permission for commercial use of high-resolution images can be both costly and restrictive, the permission to use a small, low-resolution image is likely to be be less costly and/or less restrictive.
Searching for Public Domain Images

A great resource for locating permission-free images or other content is a public domain repository, such as Wikimedia Commons, or a Creative Commons Zero resource, such as Pexels.com. Even an advanced Google Image search can help locate free-to-use images.


I requested permission to use an image in my article by contacting the rightsholder. When they replied, they asked me to complete a request form. It includes questions such as “​what will be the reproduction and/or distribution of the image,”​ and other details. I don’t know how to answer these questions. Where can I find this information about the article I will be publishing?

While we cannot obtain permissions on your behalf, we can provide information you may need to complete request forms. If need to know publisher-specific details, we will be happy to provide you with these answers. For assistance with these matters, please contact support@cgnetworks.org.