Q:

Do you need permission to use images of skin conditions found online?

A:

Quick Answer

Using copyrighted photography found online for the purpose of teaching, research, scholarship, commentary, criticism or news reporting requires no permission, states the U.S. Copyright Office. Permission is not necessary for any works that fall within the public domain.

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Full Answer

In the United States, copyright attaches to work as soon as the creator makes it, reports the Electronic Frontier Foundation's teaching copyright project. The fair use section of the Copyright Act limits the rights of the copyright holder in order to benefit the public, which is the arbiter's primary focus in copyright infringement cases.

When copyrights expire they pass into the public domain, which does not restrict use in any way, states the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In some cases the creator opts to waive some or all of his rights up front with a particular creative commons copyright designation.

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