Monday, January 9, 2012

Clarifying Copyright

I'm sure by now you have heard about copyright and terms like Creative Commons and fair use.  As a digital citizen in the 21st Century, it's important to recognize and understand the different types of licensing for your intellectual property and creations, as well as the property of others.  My purpose today is to give you some general information about the different types of licensing.  I will also provide some resources if you would like to further investigate any of the topics.

Copyright:  the owner of the work has all rights to the work.  Meaning that they are the only person who can reuse, reproduce, copy, sell, or modify their creation.  Any violation of the previous would be copyright infringement.  Please note that a work does not have to registered to be copyright protected.  Most original creations are copyright protected immediately.  This is a very complex rule with many technicalities.  Some more basic information can be found here.

Fair Use:  this is the exception to the copyright law that allows for limited use of copyright material with set restrictions.  Fair use does not mean free and unlimited use.  Find out more about fair use here.

Royalty Free:  the right to use copyrighted material without paying

Creative Commons: is all about sharing creations in different ways.  There are several types of Creative Commons Laws.  Check them out here.

Public Domain:  works where the copyright license has expired or that are not eligible for the protection of copyright.

Why do you think we need copyright laws?  What would happen if there were no laws?  What are the hazards of copy/paste?  Share your thoughts!

More to come on finding Creative Commons and royalty-free images, videos, and music. Stay tuned!


  1. The one problem with copyright is people can't tell if a photo is copyrighted on Google. But as long as they aren't selling the photo isn't ok? Like of they're using it as a wallpaper of for a report?

  2. Good to hear from you Anthony! The photographer automatically has rights to their image just by taking the photo. Obviously having a registered copyright adds more protection. When I use images, I always try to use images that have a Creative Commons license that allows for sharing. It takes all of the guessing out of the situation. Later this week I will share several ways to find these type of images. For now, you can do an advanced image search in Google and filter the results for usable images. Here is a link to the advanced Google Search:

  3. I think copyright is a good thing because it gives people credit for their work. i bet nobody would like it if someone stole their work someone else took the credit for it. the work you do is an expression of who you are, and when they steal your work, its like they steal a part of you.

  4. Vinny I really like your point of view! Until now I never thought of stealing intellectual property as stealing a part of the creator. That is some very impressive thinking! Great job!

  5. It is a great thing to have it, but it limits the creative power people have. Did you know the original copyright grace period was for only 28 years? But then, authors had complain on how too short of the grace period is, so they extended the grace period to be the author's life plus 70. It was suppose to support creativity, not companies cutting-off inspiration.