We are writing a research paper and for our experiments using a model/architecture that was created by other researchers for a specific task. We are using the same model in a modified way for a different task, but the model at its core is the same.

Is it okay for us to directly lift the image/drawing/diagram of the model/architecture and post it in ours? We would give due credits of course. We thought about drawing it on our own again and posting it but we did not want it to seem as if we are hiding the fact that we are using someone else’s model and trying to pass it off as ours.

The paper in question is available in the open domain, so I doubt there will be any copyright issues.

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    available in the open domain – Can you specify this? Few papers actually are in the public domain. Paper that are published via open access are usually under a CC licence of some sort. Papers that are just freely available do not have any licence allowing for this.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 6:45
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    No, it is not okey to use it without permission. Check the Reuse and permissions when clicking on the images on this paper for example on how in general the reuse it is done.
    – Nikey Mike
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 6:55
  • I am not sure about the license. I found a copy of the same on Arxiv. I could not see any fair usage guidelines for the as such. Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 7:00
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    @MysteryMan: The Arxiv page for each preprint tells you under which license it is published. (Just search the page for license; it’s rather hidden.) Unless it’s published by an open-access journal, it’s unlikely that this license grants you the right to do what you want to do.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 18:03
  • You can always write the authors of the first paper and ask whether you can use the image. This is the most polite thing to do. And (assuming they don't ignore the email altogether) they will probably say "yes". Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 11:05

1 Answer 1


If the image/research paper is marked as released to the Public Domain, then you can use the content as you wish. That being said, if the image is actually from someone/somewhere else, you may still be able to use it as per the Fair Use Act: Fair Use

These sites may help you understand more:

  1. Stanford University - Fair Use Overview
  2. FairUse @ US Department of Copyright

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