Help:Copyright Tutorial

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Dr Mark Hill

This current page provides general information for students and contributors about copyright issues in relation too what can be uploaded to this educational site. This educational site Embryology content has also been derived under a number of different copyright restrictions, therefore do not assume that you can reuse content found on this site without permission. Click on images, movies and content to get descriptions and full copyright information.

I have attempted to clarify this complicated topic (and may still be wrong), but you can see by the many page subheadings, you need to be clear about what you can do before you do it!

No material should be added to this educational site without original author permission and/or copyright conditions that allow reuse.

If you are the original author of embryology content that you would like to contribute to this site, please contact Dr Mark Hill by email. All contributions are acknowledged.

Editing Links: Editing Basics | Images | Tables | Referencing | Journal Searches | Copyright | Font Colours | Virtual Slide Permalink | My Preferences | One Page Wiki Card | Printing | Movies | Language Translation | Student Movies | Using OpenOffice | Internet Browsers | Moodle | Navigation/Contribution | Term Link | Short URLs | 2018 Test Student

What Contributors Should Know

  1. This is an online embryology education website available to anyone with an internet connection.
  2. Contribution to the site can only be made by students and others that have been added to the user register.
  3. All other website users can see pages, code, editorial history and contributor identity, either by name or student number.
  4. There is no way to contribute anonymously to this website.

Creative Commons

Some online and journal content is available under different forms of Creative Commons licence, and there are 6 different types of licences that can apply to content and you need to ensure that the material you wish to use. before beginning ensure the material is available under the correct licence.

Some, but not all, of the content on this website has been added under one of these licences. Therefore do not assume that you can reuse content found on this site without permission.

If you are the original author of a work not published under another copyright restriction, you may choose to contribute with one of the following licences. If so, you should include a link to one of the original licences shown below.


This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of licenses offered, in terms of what others can do with your works licensed under Attribution. licence legal code

Attribution Share Alike

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial reasons, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use. licence legal code

Attribution No Derivatives

This license allows for redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, as long as it is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to you. licence legal code

Attribution Non-Commercial

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms. licence legal code

Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. Others can download and redistribute your work just like the by-nc-nd license, but they can also translate, make remixes, and produce new stories based on your work. All new work based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also be non-commercial in nature. license legal code

Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives

This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, allowing redistribution. This license is often called the “free advertising” license because it allows others to download your works and share them with others as long as they mention you and link back to you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially. licence legal code

Links: About Creative Commons licenses

Copyright Clearance Center

Some scientific journals will allow free or purchasable reuse of content after getting permission through the commercial Copyright Clearance Center (CCC).

Some, but not all, content on this site has been added under this permission. Therefore do not assume that you can reuse content found on this site without permission.

The process is not as difficult as you may initially imagine and the online form will specify whether you can or cannot reuse the material. Do not contribute any material which you are not allowed to reuse.

How do I get Copyright Permission for other Journals?  
Some Journals never allow reuse without paying, you cannot use their content in your project.

Other Journals (like Nature group) have copyright restrictions and you need to apply for permission to reuse journal content through Copyright Clearance Centre. It's not difficult, you simply register for a free account and follow the steps shown below.

Be careful some Journals charge for reuse, always check the "Quick Price" is "0.00", any cost shown do not use as they will charge you money.

Here is how:

  1. Go back to the original article and click "Rights and permissions" on the right of the screen.
  2. This will open the Copyright Clearance Centre page.
  3. At the top of the screen click "Create account" (this is free) and fill in all the information boxes.
  4. When you have an account and password you can now "Log in"
  5. Go through these 10 steps
    1. I would like to ... "post on a website"
    2. I am an ..."academic or research institute"
    3. I would like to use ..."figures/tables/illustrations"
    4. would like to use ... put in the number of figures you would like to use (up to 3 is allowed)
    5. Are you the author of this article? NO
    6. My currency is... "AUD $" (does not matter what you select here)
    7. Click "Quick Price" it should be "0.00" (if ANY amount is shown here, do not use the image)
    8. Click continue and for "about your website" enter
    9. Additional data enter figure number. "Fig 1"
    10. Agree to their terms

All done!

You now have permission to reuse the figure on the web site and should include the approval information along with the reference in the image summary box along with the image. Otherwise it will be deleted.

More? Help:Copyright Tutorial | Help:Image Tutorial

Copyright Clearance Process

  1. You need to register with the center, which is free and can be done online.
  2. You need to ensure that the material is available for the use you intend, in this case on an educational website.
  3. You need to then complete the online request form, which is a series of questions with pull-down menu responses.
  4. You need to state the content you wish to reuse and the following conditions:
Requestor type: University/public research institute
Type of Use: Web Site
Details of use: Educational web site
URL of your web site:

Submitting the completed form will indicate the reuse conditions and will send you an email to the address on your registration. This reuse condition may include specific conditions on how the material should be cited. The contributed material must be cited as required and please include the CCC approval information.

For example, Nature Publishing Group's permission includes the following:

4. Nature Publishing Group's permission must be acknowledged next to the figure, table or abstract in print. In electronic form, this acknowledgement must be visible at the same time as the figure/table/abstract, and must be hyperlinked to the journal's homepage.

5. The credit line should read:

Reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: [JOURNAL NAME] (reference citation), copyright (year of publication)
For AOP papers, the credit line should read:
Reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: [JOURNAL NAME], advance online publication, day month year (doi: 10.1038/sj.[JOURNAL ACRONYM].XXXXX)

6. Adaptations of single figures do not require NPG approval. However, the adaptation should be credited as follows:

Adapted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: [JOURNAL NAME] (reference citation), copyright (year of publication)

Links: Copyright Clearance Center | Copyright Basics

Fair Use

This is probably one of the most confusing terms that has ever been designed and is specific to USA material and can be difficult to apply to particular uses of copyright protected material.

Some, but not all, content on this site has been added under this permission. Therefore do not assume that you can reuse content found on this site without permission.

Fair use is a uniquely USA concept, created by judges and enshrined in the law. Fair use recognizes that certain types of use of other people's copyright protected works do not require the copyright holder's authorization. In these instances, it is presumed the use is minimal enough that it does not interfere with the copyright holder's exclusive rights to reproduce and otherwise reuse the work.

Section 107 of the United States Copyright Act lists four factors to help judges determine, and therefore to help you predict, when content usage may be considered "fair use."

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work.
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyright protected work as a whole.
  4. The effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyright protected work.

Links: U.S. Copyright Office - Fair Use | U.S. Copyright Office


This is a huge continuously updated medical reference database. References can be searched for, sorted, viewed and used to a number of different conditions. This embryology site uses an extension that allows references to be added to a page using simply the PMID (More? Reference Tutorial).

You may freely cite articles as: Authorship. Title. Journal Year Volume Pages PMID without any further permission, use beyond this will vary. The list below is a general summary of the different conditions from strictest to most free associated with reuse.

  1. Articles appear only as the citation: Title. Authorship. Journal Year Volume Pages PMID (these may or may not have a paper abstract available)
  2. Articles appear as the the above citation with a paper abstract also available.
  3. Articles appear as the the above citation with/without a paper abstract and a link to the original Journal site (that may or may not allow access to the full paper).
  4. Articles appear as the the above citation with the link "Free Article", which does not mean that you are free to reuse, simply to read (these may or may not allow additional use from the publishers site).
  5. Articles appear as the the above citation with the link "Free PMC Article", which does not mean that you are free to reuse, simply to read (these may or may not allow additional use).
  6. Articles appear as the the above citation with links to the full article which will clearly state the article reuse policy.

Pubmed Central

PubMed Central (PMC) is the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature, which does not mean that you are free to reuse, simply to read (these may or may not allow additional use). This group of references was originally established as part of NIH policy to make research that it funds to be available for access.

  • The PMC journal list comprises journals that deposit material in PMC on a routine basis and generally make all their published articles available
  • PMC also has the author manuscripts of articles published by NIH-funded researchers in various non-PMC journals. Increasing free access to these articles is the goal of the NIH Public Access policy. Similar manuscripts from researchers funded by the Wellcome Trust are available in PMC as well.

Links: Reference Tutorial | PubMed FAQs | Pubmed Central | NIH Public Access Policy

Open Access

Yet another confusing term, generally used by commercial publishers, this allows research publications to be accessed and read online. The term may not (or may) mean that the material can be downloaded, saved or reused. You will often have to search around the publisher website for clarification, usually a link on the page to "Permissions" will mean that you will need to go through an application process before you know whether content can be reused.

See also <pubmed>17941723</pubmed>

Open Access and Reuse Journals

There are now a number of different publishers and journals that allow not only access to their articles, but also reuse of some or all content. Be careful as this may not apply to all content and only a subset of clearly identified within the article header or footer a copyright statement or linked to one of the Creative Commons licenses. The list shown below is not complete, but was correct at the time of page preparation and this may also change with time.

Public Library of Science

"PLoS is a nonprofit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. Everything we publish is freely available online for you to read, download, copy, distribute, and use (with attribution) any way you wish."

Their above core principles state it all and library contains a number of development related Journals and these are also linked within PubMed.

  • PLoS ONE - a peer-reviewed scientific journal for the swift publication of original research in all areas of science and medicine, with innovative user tools for post-publication commenting, rating, and discussion.
  • PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine - highly selective journals publishing a small number of papers that are major advances in their respective fields and are also of broad general interest.
  • PLoS Genetics - publishes human studies, as well as research on model organisms—from mice and flies, to plants and bacteria. Our emphasis is on studies of broad interest that provide significant mechanistic insight into a biological process or processes.
  • PLoS Pathogens - reflects the full breadth of research in these areas by publishing outstanding original articles that significantly advance the understanding of pathogens and how they interact with their host organisms.

PLoS Citation

  1. Any content reused should be cited using the Pubmed automatic citation mechanism and you should also include a link to the original online article.
  2. Any content reused should include the copyright statement (found below the abstract and above the introduction): "Copyright: © 2010 (insert author name) This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited."
  3. You may also wish to contact the original author and indicate where and how you are using their material.

Links: PLoS Core Principles | PLoS ONE | PLoS Biology | PLoS Medicine

BioMed Central

Every peer-reviewed research article appearing in any journal published by BioMed Central is 'open access', meaning that:

  1. The article is universally and freely accessible via the Internet, in an easily readable format and deposited immediately upon publication, without embargo, in an agreed format - current preference is XML with a declared DTD - in at least one widely and internationally recognized open access repository (such as PubMed Central).
  2. The author(s) or copyright owner(s) irrevocably grant(s) to any third party, in advance and in perpetuity, the right to use, reproduce or disseminate the research article in its entirety or in part, in any format or medium, provided that no substantive errors are introduced in the process, proper attribution of authorship and correct citation details are given, and that the bibliographic details are not changed. If the article is reproduced or disseminated in part, this must be clearly and unequivocally indicated.

Template Code:

{{BMC copyright}}

Template Output:

The open access articles published in BioMed Central journals are made available under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license, which means they are accessible online without any restrictions and can be re-used in any way, subject only to proper attribution (which, in an academic context, usually means citation).

See also - BMC Copyright Tutorial | BMC permissions

Related Journals

Links: BioMed Central Open Access Charter | Journals A-Z

Environmental Health Perspectives

EHP is a publication of the U.S. Government. Publication of EHP lies in the public domain and is therefore without copyright. All text from EHP may be reprinted freely. Use of materials published in EHP should be acknowledged (for example, “Reproduced with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives”); pertinent reference information should be provided for the article from which the material was reproduced. Articles from EHP, especially the News section, may contain photographs or figures copyrighted by other commercial organizations or individuals that may not be used without obtaining prior approval from the holder of the copyright. For further information, contact EHP Permissions (

Proceedings National Academy of Sciences (USA)

"Our guiding principle is that, while PNAS retains copyright, anyone can make noncommercial use of work in PNAS without asking our permission, provided that the original source is cited."

Liberalization of PNAS copyright policy: Noncommercial use freely allowed - note the original author should be contacted for permission to reuse even for Educational purposes.

Links: PNAS | PNAS Author Rights and Permission FAQs

Rockefeller University Press

"The Rockefeller University Press still derives essential revenue from journal subscriptions to content within the first six months, and thus we cannot risk the creation of a free mirror site during this time. The Creative Commons License will apply retroactively to all work published by The Rockefeller University Press (The Journal of Cell Biology, The Journal of Experimental Medicine, or The Journal of General Physiology) before November 1, 2007. ...Third parties may use our published materials under a Creative Commons license, six months after publication."

Related Links: Creative Commons | Copyright Clearance Center | JCB Article - You wrote it; you own it! | PubMed - Hill E, Rossner M. You wrote it; you own it! J Cell Biol. 2008 Apr 30.| Journal of Cell Biology |


Copyright Notice

"The GeneTests Web site, database, and their contents are copyright protected by the University of Washington, Seattle, 1993-2011. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce, distribute, and translate copies of content materials provided (i) that credit for source ( and copyright (University of Washington, Seattle) are included with each copy; (ii) that a link to the appropriate material on the GeneTests Web site is provided whenever the material is published elsewhere on the Web; and (iii) that reproducers, distributors, and/or translators comply with the GeneTests Terms of Use."

This Copyright Notice is consistent with the Copyright Status notice for the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Web pages for sites containing material, contributed or licensed by individuals, companies, or organizations, that is protected by U.S. and foreign copyright laws.

Links: Copyright Notice | Terms of Use | Citation Guidelines

Springer Open

Authors retain copyright "Articles are published under the Creative Commons Attribution License and can be reused and redistributed as long as they are correctly attributed."

Open access makes a scientific article freely available to anyone with an internet connection and does not require a journal subscription to read the article. At Springer, authors retain copyright for open access articles and the work is published under a Creative Commons License that allows re-use.

Springer Open Template


Springer Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited. SpringerOpen creative commons 2 | Open Choice creative commons 4 | Open Access Factsheet (pdf, 96 kB)

Links: Springer and Open Access | SpringerOpen | Open Access Factsheet (pdf, 96 kB)

Government Sources

CDC Public Health Image Library

  • USA CDC Public Health Image Library PHIL
  • What regulations govern the use of images in the PHIL "Most of the images in the collection are in the public domain and are thus free of any copyright restrictions. If you look directly beneath the image you will see a fair use statement that tells you if the image is public domain or copyright protected. Permission is not required for public domain images, but we do ask that you credit the original institution and contributor, when known, whenever the image is used in any publicly distributed media.

If the image is copyright protected, you will have to contact the content provider to obtain usage permission. PHIL does not have the authority to grant usage for any copyrighted images in the library. If you have difficulty contacting a content provider, we may be able to help, but we cannot act on their behalf."

NIH Image Bank

  • USA National Institutes of Health image bank
  • Copyright "NIH generated images are in the public domain; however, we occasionally use illustrations, photographs, or other information resources contributed by or licensed from private sources, companies, or organizations that may be protected by U.S. and foreign copyright laws. In such cases, please use the “contact” link to request permission in cases where a restricted use notice is posted."

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

  • About MMWR "All material in the MMWR series is in the public domain and may be used and reprinted without special permission; citation as to source, however, is appreciated."

Science Direct

Sharing publications (journal articles and book chapters)

Useful Image Templates

The following templates can be added to the uploaded image information summary for each of the following sources. To use, copy the template text and place between a pair of curly brackets (<no wiki>====Copyright==== Rockefeller University Press - Copyright Policy This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 4.0 Unported license, as described at ). (More? Help:Copyright Tutorial)</nowiki>).

  • Template:JCB - Rockefeller University Press Copyright Policy for Journal of Cell Biology.
  • Template:Blue Histology - Copyright policy and information for UWA Blue Histology images.
  • Template:BMC - Biomed Central copyright policy.
  • Template:EHP - Environmental Health Perspectives copyright policy.
  • Template:PNAS - PNAS copyright policy.
  • Template:JBC - guidelines apply to the reuse of articles, figures, charts and photos in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular & Cellular Proteomics and the Journal of Lipid Research.
  • Template:GeneTests - (GeneReviews) guidelines applying to the reuse of materials from GeneTests including the expert-authored peer-reviewed disease descriptions within GeneReviews.
  • Template:NLM Copyright - National Library of Medicine (NLM) copyright policy.

External Links

External Links Notice - The dynamic nature of the internet may mean that some of these listed links may no longer function. If the link no longer works search the web with the link text or name. Links to any external commercial sites are provided for information purposes only and should never be considered an endorsement. UNSW Embryology is provided as an educational resource with no clinical information or commercial affiliation.

Glossary Links

Glossary: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Numbers | Symbols | Term Link

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, June 18) Embryology Copyright Tutorial. Retrieved from

What Links Here?
© Dr Mark Hill 2024, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G