SAT: Do you ever consider copyright when including images and other content from the web in your digital teaching resources? (Elaine Dalloway)
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10 January 2016
Do you consider copyright when adding images to your teaching materials or other content? Two thirds of respondents to this survey question stated either that they didn’t, or they weren’t sure.
“I'd guess about half [of my colleagues] simply are unaware of copyright issues and the other half are aware but don’t have the time or inclination to do things properly.”
Survey response, December 2015
Copyright is a legal protection, which grants the creator of a piece of work exclusive rights to how that work is used. Copyright applies as soon as the idea becomes a physical expression and lasts until 70 years after the death of its creator. However, “copyright law in the digital arena … is something of a minefield. The law is strict in parts and vague in others” Oldale (2015).
“Fair use is a legal exception to the exclusive rights an owner has for his or her copyrighted work” (Hawkins 2011) and there is often a misconception that any copyrighted work may be used freely, under this exception, in an educational context. This is not the case, and there are restrictions on what can be considered ‘fair use’, although again this is not always clear. Even if you provide an attribution and link back to the original, this does not mean that “you’re free and clear” to use any image you find online (Hawkins 2011).
My feeling is that as educators, it is important that just as we would expect to attribute a quote to an author, we must also provide details of images we use, and must ensure that we have permission to use these images.
If an image is subject to copyright and we really must use it, then written permission should be sought from the copyright holder. However, there are various tools available to help us find images that can be used freely. For example there are filters that can be applied to a Google image search to return only images in the public domain or labelled for reuse under the various licensing schemes offered by Creative Commons.
My research has drawn my attention to the argument, however, that the terms of the Creative Commons licenses “aren’t particularly clear to either the people creating CC content or using it [being] torn between the twin aims of making sharing simple and making it precise” (Benton 2011). For example there is much debate around the CC-BY-NC licence, which allows sharing for non-commercial purposes only, and in this regard, what exactly constitutes ‘non-commercial’ use. It should also be noted that “Creative Commons is not public domain” (Wild 1011).
My project will produce a web resource, which will help educators find images in the public domain, and those labelled for re-use, and will include a guide to using Creative Commons licences.
During the multimedia presentation we will look at this resource and discuss how not to fall foul of copyright law.
Benton, J (2011), ‘Wired releases images via Creative Commons, but reopens a debate on what “noncommercial” means’ [online]. Available at http://www.niemanlab.org/2011/11/wired-releases-images-via-creative-commons-but-reopens-a-debate-on-what-noncommercial-means/ (last accessed 29 December 2015).
Hawkins, S (2011), ‘Copyright Fair Use and How it Works for Online Images’ [online]. Available at http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/copyright-fair-use-and-how-it-works-for-online-images/ (last accessed 29 December 2015).
Oldale, R (2015), ‘Bloggers Beware: Image Copyright Infringement Is costly’, Website Magazine [online]. Available at http://www.websitemagazine.com:content:blogs:posts:archive:2015:04:17:bloggers-beware-image-copyright-infringement-is-costly.aspx (last accessed 29 December 2015).
Wild, Alex (2011), ‘Creative Commons Is Not Public Domain’ (online) http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/compound-eye/creative-commons-is-not-public-domain/ (last accessed 29 December 2015)
11:16 on 17 January 2016
Project resource online
Here's a link to my project resource on finding an using images. I hope you find it useful - please let me know if I've missed anything or if you have any other comments about the resource - e.g. look and feel, ease of use. I've deliberately tried to keep it as simple as possible i.e. not too much information to wade through.
09:37 on 8 February 2016 (Edited 09:42 on 9 February 2016)