Image Use & Copyright Attribution

Apr 16, 2020

I am creating an online course for a client and I have sourced all the images I require. I have a range of iStock and Pixabay images which I will provide attribution to in a Credits section of the course. However, I have two images which I am unsure of in terms of the use and attribution. One if from a medical journal (which is the only place I can find it). I have a reference for this image, is it okay to use this image for a client once it has been attributed correctly?


Secondly, I have two Body Mass Index images. I also have references for these images (one is from the WHO and another is from scholarly literature. Again, is it okay to use both these images as long as I provide attribution? I am just unsure as this course will be for commercial use for a client. 


I have attached a PDF showing the images and references. I would appreciate some guidance on this or if anyone else could share their experience of copyright attribution as there are so many rules surrounding attribution of images. 

9 Replies
Julie Stelter

Hi Ronan,

Any image from a published journal article or organization will normally be under copyright. so even if you apply the correct attribution, you would need permission from the author/organization to use. The WHO diagram may have less stringent copyright such as a creative commons license. They may also have a form on the website to request permission to use. Look for that. I would not even try to get permission from a medical journal.

The WHO will ask the purpose of your request. If this is for a product that the organization will sell to other people, your purpose is commercial or for-profit. Lately, I have had some experiences where clients think they can check the "for educational purposes" box. You cannot because the course is being sold. The course itself is created for commercial use.

I'll leave this page open if you want to discuss it further.




Judy Nollet

I'm not a lawyer, but here's my understanding of copyright:

A published image should not be copied/re-used/re-published (especially for commercial use). There are a few exceptions:

  • The image is in the public domain (for example, a an old image for which the copyright has expired)
  • The source specifically states that the image can be re-used (for example, an image with a Creative Commons license, which may or may not include some restrictions, such as requiring  attribution) 

That means that, even with attribution, re-using the Principles image shown in the PDF would be a copyright violation.

The other "image" is a bit trickier. Copyright covers the expression of information. However, one cannot copyright the information itself. There are limited ways to present the BMI tables. So you could re-create the tables. Perhaps use slightly different formatting, such as different shades of the colors and different fonts. Even then, it's a good idea to mention where you got the info.

  • Tip: For tables like that, I suggest making the table in PowerPoint, exporting it as an image, and then importing the image into Storyline. That makes it easier to resize the table as needed. It would also allow for adding the zoom function.
Allison LaMotte

Hi Ronan, 

I'm also not a lawyer, but I would tend to agree with Julie here. I don't think using a screenshot and linking to the website is okay unless you have permission from the author to use the image or if the image is in the public domain. Here's an article that talks a little more about image usage rights. Hopefully you'll find it helpful!

Allison LaMotte

Linking to external content should be fine. I would just be careful not to copy/paste any of their content into your course, which I believe would still be plagiarism even if you link out to their website as the source.

Again--I'm not a lawyer! If you're really worried about this, I would maybe seek advice from a professional.

Hugh Vaughan

In the File Info area of Adobe Photoshop it is possible to set the Copyright Status, add a Copyright Notice and Copyright Info URL. This meta data is saved in the image.

If you upload into a Rise or a Storyline course and then right click > download or export original image this copyright information is lost. Is there a way to stop this happening?

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