Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Images and Copyright

Just because something’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it is free of copyright. An image found on the Internet can be an especially dicey proposition. You may be able to look at it. You may be able to make a copy for personal use. You may be able to use it in teaching. You may even be able to use the image in other instances with proper attribution. How you intend to use the image is the determining factor in whether you should seek copyright permission.

Here are some initial factors to consider:
  • Are we an educational institution?
  • Are we a non-profit organization? 
  • Is this work going to be used in the classroom? 
“In the classroom” is the operative phrase when it comes to non-profit, educational institutions and copyright. Teachers and students are allowed the use of copyrighted material in the conduct of a class under conditions specified by the Copyright Act of 1976.

 However, if you’re going to post material to a public website, use it in a publication, or reproduce and distribute it in any way (including email), you must seek written permission to use the very same work you may have shown to your class last week. You may have to pay for this permission. If you work in an academic support area, then you must seek permission. Any use outside of the classroom requires permission.

On a related note, material (like a film) used for an event, or a club meeting, or anything on-campus outside of an official class meeting attended only by enrolled class members, also requires--not only permission-- but the payment of public performance fees as well.

 The library maintains a list of Images and Image Galleries: on it are resources that may be used for individual research or educational purposes. You’ll also find links to the resources’ legal permissions and copyright information pages where you can investigate requirements for other uses of their visual material.

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