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Press and Public Relations Office

Legal Information and Forms

What better way to make websites, posters, or presentations more appealing than by adding images? However, there are a number of legal aspects you should be aware of when you incorporate images into your materials.

In collaboration with the IT law experts at JMU's Information Technology Centre, the Press and Public Relations Office has developed a set of guidelines for the use of images. These guidelines are intended to ensure that all of the University's students and staff members are aware of personality rights and copyright issues.

We have attempted to address these issues in a pragmatic way and to compile a set of guidelines you will find useful in your daily work. Please bear in mind that this document covers selected copyright scenarios only. If in doubt, please consult with the Press and Public Relations Office and/or the Legal Department.

Please not that these recommendations should not be considered legal advice and bear in mind that laws change from time to time. All information contained within the PDF file below was correct on 1 August 2017. Please be sure to keep up-to-date on changes in relevant legislation. A good source of information is the online magazine "Recht am Bild".

Guidelines for the use of images (PDF, 437 Kb)

You can search Flickr or Wikipedia Commons for royalty free images that are available for almost unrestricted use. But please bear in mind that not all the images you find in these databases are ‘royalty free‘ and ‘unrestricted use‘. You must not use images that are not marked as released for reuse. 

When you search these databases, you will come across the term ‘Creative Commons licence‘. Creative Commons (CC) is a not-profit organisation that offers a licensing model that allows creators to share their copyrigthed works with others. Depending on what licence they choose  - CC offeres six different types - creators grant others different rights to their works, e.g. the right to copy, distribute or modify them.

To read more about the Creative Commons licensing model and find out what licensing type is right for you, please refer to the booklet published by Bertelsmann Stiftung that is available for download below.

Freie Lizenzen erklärt - a booklet published by Bertelsmann-Stiftung (available in German only) (PDF, 2,53 Mb)

Please note: We do not recommend using ‘free‘ image databases, such as Pixabay. Why? Many users upload images ‘free‘ image databases (Pixabay etc.) although they do not hold copyright to them and many platforms that offer free images are not permitted to do so. Therefore, please bear in mind that: Some images may appear to be royalty free, but you may still not be permitted to use them. 

Whether students or staff members are photographed for the University's website or photos are being taken during University events: The depicted persons must consent to their photographs being used for the intended pupose(s) by signing the form ‘Consent to the Publication of Photographs, Film, Video, and Audio Recordings and Assignment of Rights‘ (Einwilligungserklärung zur Veröffentlichung von Bild- und Filmmaterial und Übertragungn der Bildrechte/Rechtseinräumung, last updated 20 September 2017).

Consent form (PDF, 30 Kb)

If an event is too big for you to obtain written consent from all attendees, it is advisable that you display notice signs to inform the attendees of the presence of a photographer.

Notice sign  (PDF, 45 Kb)