A variety of organizations and individuals have
contributed photographs to CalPhotos. Please be aware that these
various contributors maintain copyright and also dictate usage of
their own images. Usage information is provided with each image
and can be found on each photo's "detail" page. (See
How can I contact the photographer who took this photo? for
On this page we provide general
usage guidelines for all the CalPhotos images.
The thumbnail photos are the small photos that appear
in the "browse" pages
when you do a search, and at the top of each photo's "detail" page.
For our purposes, a thumbnail is an image that is 194x130 pixels in size or smaller.
can be used without prior permission under the Fair Use provisions of the
Copyright Law of the
United States as long as you include the proper credit for the photo
(check the photo's detail page for wording). Please see below for an
explanation of what constitutes Fair Use. Briefly, it applies to
personal, academic, and other educational uses. If your use is not within
the provisions of Fair Use, you may still be able to use the thumbnails,
but you may need to request permission from the person or organization
that contributed the photo.
How can I contact the photographer who took this photo?) for
more information about obtaining usage and contact information.
Fair Use does not cover the images that are larger than the
thumbnail size, i.e. larger than 194x130 pixels.
To use any of those photos, you will need to
request permission first from the person or organization
that contributed the photo. Some contributors allow some
kinds of uses without advanced permission but you must verify
To find out whether you need
permission, check the usage information at the top of the
enlargement for the photo you are
interested in. You can also find
usage information on the photographer's "bio" page (click on the
photographer's name on the detail page.)
This applies to downloading and saving
the image on your own computer, as well as including a link on your web page that results in
the image being displayed on your page.
If you wish to use the photo for a publication or some other commercial
use, you can find contact information either on the photo's "detail" page,
or on the photographer's "bio" page.
In some cases you may need to pay a licensing fee or reproduction
expenses to use the image. Or, you may be able to order a slide or a higher resolution
version of the photo.
The data associated with the photos in CalPhotos is not covered under the
provisions of Fair Use and you must request permission from the
copyright holder before using it. "Data" includes scientific and
common names for the plant or animal in the photo, locations,
dates, and any notes or other text about the photo
that were provided when the photo was contributed.
This means that you may not collect text information from the CalPhotos
database in order to make text or photos available on your own website, or to use it
for other purposes such as generating links to CalPhotos from your
website, without permission. However, it is OK to use summary information
to generate links such as "Click here to see all photos of Bufo canorus in CalPhotos".
See Linking to the images
for instructions on how to do this.
Some summary information is available on our website. For example,
you can download a list of all the plant names we have photos for
if you need other text information about multiple photos, you will
need to request it from the people or organizations that
contributed the photos you are interested in. Please note
that BSCIT cannot provide this without
permission, and we do not permit crawlers or other programs
to harvest this data from our website. For more information
about this, see Downloading multiple images or data.
As of this writing, many aspects of Fair Use are still being sorted out
in the courts, but in general, Fair Use means that a small thumbnail
photo that you find on a website
can be downloaded and saved for personal or educational
use without asking permission first or paying a licensing fee.
The exact size of the thumbnail has not been described in the
law as far as we know, but for our purposes, a thumbnail is an image that is 194x130 pixels in size or smaller.
Fair Use does not apply to images that are larger than a thumbnail or to any
text information that goes with the photo. Fair Use also does not apply
to commercial use or to any use that might affect the value of or
the market for the original photo. If you are in doubt as to whether
your use would be considered Fair Use, please check with the person or
organization that contributed the photo.
Multiple and repeated connections to CalPhotos put a strain on
our web and database servers and can hamper access for other users.
Therefore, BSCIT maintains a "robots.txt"
file that disallows access to certain parts of our website by robots. Robots are
computer programs that download web pages; they are also known as spiders or crawlers.
Robots may not run queries to CalPhotos or directly
access the image directories.
We monitor repeated connections to the images from the
same host, and we may
deny access to hosts that appear to be running a program to download images
or data from our web server.
We also ask that users not download multiple
images and data from CalPhotos without permission.
It is not in our interest or that of our contributors to have uncontrolled
subsets of these holdings available elsewhere on the
Internet. We make corrections, add text, add images,
etc. on a continual basis, and we want the most current
set of images and text to be the only one generally
available to all Internet users.
If you would like to link to multiple images in CalPhotos, please see the next section for
If you need multiple images or data for some other purpose, you will need
permission from the person or organization that provided the photos you are
interested in. Please see the information above about using thumbnails,
larger images, and text data.
There are two types of links you can create on your own web page to display photos
from CalPhotos: 1) linking to groups of photos, or 2) linking to a specific photo.
Instructions for creating both types of links can be found on this page:
How to Link to the Photos.
Creating links to a group of photos does not usually require permission in
However, creating a link to a specific photo may require permission
from the copyright holder of the photo. See below for details.
1) Linking to groups of photos
You can create a link on your web page that users can click
on to see groups of photos that match a particular query.
Some examples: "Photos of Bufo canorus" or "Trees in Monterey County".
These links will generate a query to CalPhotos and bring up a page
images that match the query. See How to Link to the Photos
For plants, we provide a list of scientific names that we have photos for here:
This list is updated daily, and can be used to create links to photos
from websites that provide information
about plant species, such as the Plants Database.
2) Linking to a specific photo
You can create a link to a specific photo in CalPhotos without first
asking permission as long as the photo is displayed on the CalPhotos
website when a user clicks on your link.
If you create a link to a specific CalPhotos photo that results in
the photo being displayed on your web page (in html terms, using the
tag "IMG SRC="), then you must follow the usage
guidelines above to determine whether your use is "Fair Use" or if it requires
permission. See Using the thumbnails,
Using the larger images, and Using the data.
Even though you have not actually downloaded the image
and saved it to your own computer, displaying it on a page other than
a CalPhotos page may require permission from the copyright holder
depending on whether your use falls under the Fair Use provisions
of the U.S. Copyright Law.
For citing CalPhotos, we recommend this format:
CalPhotos. 2012. Regents of the University of California, Berkeley.
Accessed on April 4, 2012. Available online at:
Replace the date in this example with the date you accessed the site.