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Copyright at the Fund

What You Need To Know

For your work at the IMF, do not assume images, maps, charts, music, video, and other freely available online content are ok for you to use.

Most of the content found on the internet is copyright-protected and using without permission may be costly. 

For all your images, video or music needs in your IMF work:

  • Do not just copy/paste or download content from the internet without checking they come with the right to use.
  • Check with before including music or video from third party sources in your public-facing work.
  • For public-facing work requiring images or video, contact
  • Remember what practices to avoid and see Best Practices below.

Safe Resources and Best Practices

Safe Resources 

  • Images from IMF Flickr are owned by the IMF and can be used for all your IMF needs. (Be careful if searching within Flickr that you search on the IMF Flickr and not the broader Flickr, where non-IMF images will be found.)
  • In addition, you can buy stock images from IMF subscriptions to stock photo from the  Creative Portal (
  • For all your audio-visual content needs (images, videos, music), can help you.
  • The following website offers free images which do not require permission: Beautiful Free Images & Pictures | Unsplash

Best Practice 

  • Graphs, charts or maps found online (or already embedded in an article) are also likely copyright-protected. You would need to obtain permission from the copyright owner to reuse. Permission is also required if you want to modify them. 
  • Look for images with a Creative Commons (CC) License. In particular, CC-0, CC-BY, or with a Public Domain mark.
  •  Read the permitted use of the CC license and make sure it covers the use you want to make. 
  • Be sure to attribute the source but note that attribution does not give you permission to use content not already cleared for usage.

Other Resources


Practices to Avoid

The more visibility your work has, the riskier any misuse, so for any public-facing use, do not use any of the web searches or web content. Work with and/or well in advance of your project deadline. 

For internal use, favor the Safe resources mentioned above. Keep in mind that work initially done for internal use might one day end up on a public-facing site, so due diligence is required for all types of works. 

In any case, do not use images labelled "All Rights Reserved" if you are not properly licensed for it. For any content marked "All Rights Reserved", you need to obtain written permission from the copyright owner for your use. Or look for another option. 


Google and other searches

The tips below on using internet images should be used WITH CAUTION. We do not recommend these search options, but if you are going to use them, make sure you opt for the Creative Commons licenses setting and attribute the source. 


Free images found on Google or other search engine are not always free for your use.

Make sure you only search from images with a Creative Commons license and even then, only use for internal work. See below how to select the proper settings. Note the multiple steps. 

Use Tools to bring the Usage Rights selection and then select Creative Commons licenses.

Step 1 

Step 2 

Step 3 



Inserting images from the Microsoft insert picture tools in Outlook, PPT, Word, etc.

It is safe to use Stock Images from a Microsoft Office product, as indicated here.

However, if you are using Online Pictures, make sure your search focuses on Creative Commons only (see below). Even then, only use for internal work. 


If using Flickr (the general Flickr search)

Select the license that works for your use. Selecting Creative Commons should work for most uses if you do not modify the image. Be sure to credit the source. As with the other general web searches, do not use for high visibility public-facing IMF works. 

IMF Flickr account is fine to use though, as the images on IMF Flickr belong to the IMF.