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Images, AV materials and Social Media


If you need to use audio or video material for teaching and learning, copyright law affects you.

From a copyright infringement perspective, it is lower risk to post a link to a video, e.g. on than to embed or download it into your own content. Do check that it is released under a Creative Commons licence or that you have permission to use it.

Some sources of copyright free images

National Institute of Health Image Gallery

National Cancer Institute Visuals Online

Centers for Disease control and prevention

Flickr – advanced search, cc licensed

Geograph –  photos of Britain and Ireland

Google Image -  enter search term, then  click on search tools under the search box, and choose usage rights

VADS - visual arts images

Wikimedia Commons - A repository of public domain and freely-licensed educational media content from the Wikimedia Foundation


Using Images in your teaching or research materials can make them more attractive to read and clearer to understand. However it is not ok to use images, even if openly available on the Internet, without checking if it is legal to do so.

Can I usethis image?

"Orphan " items are ones where the rightsholders are not known. The EU is trying to make these items available for use under Directive 2012/28/EU and more information can be found here

Best practice would advise you to create your own images ortake your own photos, or use images already licensed for re-use (see below)

A film or broadcast may be played in lectures to an audience of staff, students and others directly connected with the University for the purposes of instruction only. However this does not cover recreational or promotional activities, e.g. a general film club or during open days. Any non-instructional playing of films would need to be covered by a licence from companies like Filmbank.

Social media

Using extracts from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites can be a copyright minefield. Check the web sites carefully for information and get permission where possible so it doesn't blow up in your face!


The CLA licence does not cover the photocopying of maps. Library Services subscribes to the Digimap service under which copying and downloading of certain Ordnance Survey material is permissible. For access to Digimap please go to the A-Z list of databases.

ERA /Off air recordings

Aston has an Educational Recording Agency (ERA)  licence allowing for educational use of copyright protected material. This allows the following non-commercial activities:

  • Recording from broadcasts made in the UK of the works and performances owned or represented by ERA members. Recordings may be made by or on behalf of an educational establishment.
  • Electronic communication of licensed recordings within an educational establishment.

For help and advice, please contact Jeremy Batt ( Associate IT Director - Applications)

Trademarks and logos

Can I use an image of someone else’s brand or logo in classroom materials? For example  to put BMW, Mercedes and Audi logos on a worksheet to encourage students to formulate opinions. You can use a brand name or image showing a branded product in the classroom as long as the context is clearly educational, the British Council is not making critical or negative comments about the brand or suggesting endorsement of the product. You should add the ™ symbol next to the logo to reinforce that the logo is protected by a trademark (or ® if the official logo includes this symbol).
However if we wanted to include images of a branded product in a textbook or teaching materials available publicly online, then we should get permission as we could be liable for trademark infringement where we are using their product image for profit.