Copyright Resources wiki page

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Free Course - Copyright for Educators & Librarians

Copyright for Teachers
Copyright wiki
Finding Images You Can Freely Use
How to Cite Images
Copyright & Fair Use

What is it???

Copyright: Dictionary.com states “the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.: works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 50 years after his or her death.”

In other words: there is a Federal Law in place that protects the work you (or anybody else) creates, whether you write a novel, screen a movie, take a photo, or compose a song. Because it is your personal work, nobody else can use it without your permission – copyright laws prevent people from changing or flat-out stealing your work without permission. It still happens sometimes, from people who either are not aware of the laws or just don’t care, but for the most part copyright laws keep creative work safe.

If you use copyrighted work without getting permission, you could end up in major legal trouble. It’s much easier to learn the right way to do things than it is to have to worry about how to get out of trouble later.

Fair Use: When you are doing research for a school project, you can use copyrighted work without seeking out permission first – thanks to the idea of “Fair Use.” There is a set of guidelines that outlines how you can use resources and works the ‘right way’ so as not to get in trouble.

Go to this site and look at the guidelines. Do they seem fair to you?

What now???

Fair use allows you to use things without gaining permission first, but what if that is still not enough for your project? And is there any place to find information or works that do not have a copyright or that you do not have to have special permission to use? Yes! There are probably still some ‘common sense’ limitations on how you use the information available (e.g. do not pass the work off as your own, do not try to sell it, etc.), but there are a number of websites that have collections you can access and use.

Go to this page and explore the various resources available. Find one example of each of the following, and give the title and link:

Anything else???

Public Domain: If a work is in ‘the public domain’ it means the copyright has expired (or it never had one to begin with) and the work is open and available. You can use
these works in your projects – educational or personal – without worrying about breaking copyright laws or misusing the Fair Use guidelines. But remember: Just because something is in the public domain and does not have a copyright does NOT mean that you can try to say the work is your own original work. Copyright rules and plagiarism are two entirely different things – and to stay out of academic (and sometimes legal!) trouble, you need to be aware of the rules surrounding both.

Now that you know a little bit about copyright and Fair Use, let’s have a little fun while learning some more details and ‘testing’ what we’ve learned.

A Visit to Copyright Bay
This is an interactive site that will explain the various details of copyright and fair use in greater detail. You can start with a basic background (Background Beach) and then explore the differences between audio-visual or multimedia, and what to do when you’re working with a single copy or multiple copies. Each location provides a lot of information designed to get you thinking and help you better understand the way copyright and fair use work. At the end of each tutorial, there is a “cruise” you can take to test your understanding.

Visit Copyright Bay and read a tutorial or two. Take the Cruise at the end and see how you do.

Still need more information???
Here are some sites that you may find useful for even more understanding and exploration of Copyright:
CyberBee Interactive Copyright Page
Copyright in an Electronic Environment
How to Understand Copyright Restrictions