Nowhere Land – Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
Copyright is a complex subject. It is also not a particularly exciting subject. It is, however, an important subject. In this post I am going to break it down into three sections that will hopefully get you to understand a little bit about why we all need to worry about copyright material. The three questions are:
Firstly, before I answer these questions, I’d like to direct your attention to David Sherren’s article on copyright. David is the University copyright guru and should be able to offer advice and guidance for all specific questions on the subject. So onto the first question.
I can think of at least two good answers. Firstly, how would you like it if someone stole from you and infringed your copyright? Secondly, there’s a chance of suffering financial loss.
A. How would you like it?
Suppose you have worked hard on something (an article, a piece of creative writing or audio/visual project perhaps) or you have simply uploaded a photo onto a social media platform. That piece of work is yours. If someone takes your work and uses it without permission, that would surely strike you as a little unfair. What if they then made money from your source materia
B. Financial loss.
If you take other’s work and use it the original authors might consider themselves entitled to payment for the reproduction of their work. Many times I hear the response “but it’s for educational purposes”. This argument only holds true in a limited number of situations and areas. The problem comes down to the wording of “educational use”. Education use generally allows any image to be used as part of a lecture or seminar; however, if the image is in a PowerPoint presentation that is then placed into Moodle or the web as a file (native or PDF) then this is classed as distribution and is no longer covered by the educational licence. This is a terribly grey area, as the British Library highlight with their explanation of fair use of works.
“A statutory definition for fair dealing does not exist; it will always be a matter of fact, degree and interpretation in every fair use case. Nor is there a percentage or quantitative measure to determine fair dealing.”
Essentially, as the user responsible for infringing copyright, would you take the risk of being the person financially liable for infringement?
For further information around real-world copyright cases and why it is important to maintain copyright please refer to the cases listed below.
2. What am I really after?
When I run my training session on copyright I pose the question of specificity: how specific does your search need to be? If you are really after a particular photo from the Pontiac Correctional Center 1978 riot then you might be unable to find something that is copyright cleared. However, if you really just need a photo to illustrate the police or a prison maybe even the situation following a riot these can all be found using a Creative Commons or royalty free image database.
3. How can I achieve my aims while adhering to the rules?
This can be a tricky question. I suggest that the first step is just to ask yourself: “Should I really be using this resource?” If you are unsure of the answer then contact myself or, for a more comprehensive answer, David Sherren. We will attempt to clarify if you are able to use the material. It helps if you can provide us with all the information of where, when, and how you acquired the material.
Tips on copyright
Okay, so this post isn’t really about whether cats are cuter than dogs… rather, it’s about open source repositories, and how they can help you easily access copyright free images and open source content!
We all know that using strong visuals and resources are a really important element in creating engaging paper-based and online course content to enhance the student learning experience.
And we also know that the internet is rich with photos, illustrations, graphic elements, fonts and videos… just a quick Google search and you can find thousands of hits right at your fingertips. But how do we know what is legally allowed to be used without restrictions? It’s fair to say that copyright law can be a bit of a minefield!
So to make life just a little easier, next time you are thinking about revamping old course materials, or creating some new ones, why not take a look at, for example, Wikimedia Commons. The site holds hundreds of thousands of media files, which can be freely used for educational purposes.
Another example of a lesser known repository is NYPL Digital Collections. This site holds a vast array of research collections featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video and much, much more!
The following websites have curated links to dozens of free and open source resources (and offer more than just cute pictures of cats and dogs!), which can be used with either little or no restrictions. You can also find tools that can be used to help deliver course content in a more engaging way.
Map Librarian – University Library, UoP
Copyright guru – David maintains the Copyright Guidelines at the University and endeavours to answer any copyright questions that come his way which, given the ambiguity of the subject, can be a challenge!
When producing content for a blog post it’s very easy just to ‘borrow’ material from other web sites and blogs. However, it’s important to remember that all web sites, emails, blogs and photographs are protected by copyright. Don’t assume that giving someone credit for material you use means that there is no copyright infringement.
Here are some things that you can do:
(a) the work has been made available to the public;
(b) the use of the quotation is fair (so it doesn’t affect the market for the original work);
(c) the quote is relevant and its extent is no more than is required by the specific purpose for which it is used; and
(d) the quotation is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement.
Note that copying a photograph is not normally allowed under this exception.
There is some basic information about copyright in our Copyright Guidelines.
If you have any questions about copyright issues then please contact: email@example.com.