Intellectual Property Issues in Engineering

A resource for engineering graduate students at the University of Arkansas, intended to help them make informed decisions about copyright, patents, and other intellectual property matters associated with their studies


Please be advised: Information and/or links provided on this site are not and do not constitute legal advice and are for informational purposes only.  Seek legal advice from a licensed attorney to address any legal questions or concerns.

Social Media Images and Copyright

Social media encourages the use of images.  How do copyright and social media interact? Here are some news articles associated with favorite tools that allow uploading or manipulating images in social media venues.

What are YOUR rights when you post images in social media? Read the privacy and reuse policies. You MAY be giving away your images. Are you comfortable with that?

Copyright is Not Waived

If you didn't create the image --for example, you didn't take the photograph, draw or paint the picture, or create the digital image, but chose to use an image you found on the Web, be careful.  Images are owned by the person that created them and that person has the right to state how it is used. If you don't have permission from the creator, then you need to determine if your use is within the fair use guidelines.  If you plan to publish your work with the image as part of an article or on the Web, be even more careful, because copyright permission IS generally REQUIRED.

Searching the Web and simply reusing an image without a watermark or copyright symbol is a bad idea. Take the time to determine if the image is available for reuse!  The sites below have great images and provide copyright information that will allow you to make informed decisions about reusing those images.

Fair Use and Images

Determining fair use of images is a bit more complicated.  The tools below can help you make a judgment about whether your use of an image is within the Fair Use guidelines.


Through the program Images for Academic Publishing (IAP), some collections include images whose rights have been cleared for academic use. Researchers can retrieve IAP images by including IAP in a basic or advanced search. The researcher will be asked to complete an online form to request permission to use an image. Use is governed by specific terms and conditions.

Creative Commons

The "Creative Commons develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation."