Photographs, Music, and Other Potentially Copyrighted Materials

Photographs Taken In the Department and Posted on our Site:

Photographs taken by the department of events or individuals, or a photograph taken by an individual submitting a story to the site, can be used, so long as the following guidelines are met.

Photos of Individuals, or a Group of Individuals:

  • To see if we already have a Photo Release Form on file for these individuals, contact Liz Collier who maintains this file.
  • Use the Photo Release Form: 
    The UW has a catch-all form that should be used for all such photos.  It is written in such a way that one form can be signed by a person only one time, and we can use their image going forward.  They will not need to sign it every time we take a photo of them.  Get this form here:
    Contact Liz Collier for forms.
  • File Signed Photo Release Forms with Liz Collier, currently the primary editor of the website.  Liz maintains a file of all signed release forms on hand.

Group Shot Guidelines:

  • In terms of group shots, as long as you are in a public space, you don’t need a release unless there is a prominently featured individual(s).  If there are prominenty featured individual(s) a Photo Release Form should be used (as per above).

Commercial and Non-Sociology Materials:

Copyrighted Materials such as images, commercial photographs, music, and other types of items, generally require payment for use (licensing).  There are some resources that are free or low cost. 

It is critically important to only use trusted, documented resources for getting things like stock photos or background music.  We need to be able to show that we have gotten the image or material from a resource that allows for it's use for free, or have paid for it's use.

Departments who have accidentally used a photo that required payment for use due to copyrights have ended up getting cease and desist orders, and bills for the usage. 

Do not simply go out and search the internet, say in Google images, and copy and paste something. 

Here are resources that are free, or low cost places to get images, and music.

Important Guidelines and Documentation:

  • Read the Instructions:
    When you use one of these types of resources for free images, be sure to read the instructions on the site.  Some require that a source citation is used, some do not and the image can just be used.
  • Document where the item came from as follows:
    Document where the image came from, and give this information to Liz Collier to put with other photo/image/media source documentation:
    • A copy of the image
    • A screen shot of where it came from, printed or electronic that she can print
    • Easy, that's all that's needed.  Either email to or put in Liz Collier's mailbox.


    This web page is mainatined by the Arts & Sciences web design team and provides a large number of resources for both free for use or low cost images.
  • While researching images for vintage website photos in 2016, we've looked at ol UW yearbooks (called "Tyee").  The Special Collections librarian at that time has told us that it is fair use to use these images on our website.  They provided these guidelines:
    • If we find a Tyee photo, an dmake the reproduction from it on our own, we do not have to go through the Library to use it.
    • If we ask the Library to supply us wiht a reproduction, we would then have to pay for the reproduction.
    • The Sociology Department will not be charged a use fee to use the image itself, as we are a UW department.