I have developed an educational software in which I make use of some copyrighted images, for example from Disney, and am now writing an article about it.

How should I reference or cite that those images are copyrighted? Should I put it on a footnote or just blur the images inside the article?

I would not like to have problems of an article rejection because of that.

  • 11
    Tou should cite them as instructed by the copyright owners when you obtained their permission to reuse their images. You did ask them, didn't you?
    – JeffE
    Nov 23 '14 at 4:05
  • 4
    @JeffE Permission to use the images in the software doesn't necessarily imply permission to use them in an article about the software. This is a question to ask a lawyer. Nov 23 '14 at 12:05
  • Are you asking for citation style or for answers from a copyright and legal aspect?
    – enthu
    Dec 23 '14 at 15:56

The images are copyrighted. You are not allowed to put it in the article unless you obtain an explicit (and preferably written) permission by the copyright holder to use it there. If you obtained a permission to use it for research and you would like to consider it a permission to publish it in an article, you better consult a lawyer, but the odds are that you can't do that. As well, do not forget to check whether the journal's copyright transfer is not conflicting with the permission you obtain from the picture's copyright holder. You'll very likely need an exception from the Editor to be allowed to use the image.

To see that this is an issue, remember that the usage of the famous Lenna picture led to legal complaints raised by PlayBoy who is the copyright holder. They decided to cancel the complaints, but it was just their choice. (Source: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~chuck/lennapg/lenna.shtml)


I would cite images using footnotes using either the MLA or APA image citation guidelines. However, there are some extra citation requirements for disney images see the walt disney terms of use web page http://www.waltdisney.org/terms-use pay particular attention to the section on fair use.

  • 1
    Scientific publication is neither education nor non-commercial. Also, you transfer the copyright to the journal publisher, which may be a problem, and is certainly not implicitly treated by the ToU.
    – yo'
    Dec 23 '14 at 11:24

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