To begin, I would like to say that this article is to be used as a quick guide for copyright, legal issues, and tips for students. It is a lot of information piled into one tiny article. I hope you all enjoy!
What Is Copyright?
Copyright is the right to copy. Meaning whoever owns that specific piece of work, whether it is a song, a picture, or a video ; That owner then has the ability to give others the right to also repost or use their piece of work. But don’t be fooled, copyright can become a big issue if whatever you are choosing to use that is not yours, is not done correctly or protected. Usually, when it comes to using material that is not yours to support yourself, you need to get permission from the owner. However, there are times when fair use comes into play.
Fair use is the ability to use small sections of copyrighted work without permission. However, it can only be used for teaching, news reporting, as well as criticism. It must be used very carefully.
The Rules For Copyright
There are three very specific rules to know when you are following copyright protection. Once these three steps are done, you immediately own the copyright to that form of work. First, it has to be original. Second, it must be a work of authorship. Lastly, it has to be fixed in a tangible meaning of expression. What happens if you use a picture or music that is not copyright protected? It will then be apart of the public domain.
The public domain is a place for music, videos, pictures, articles, etc. to go, that is not copyright protected. The creator of it can even upload it to the public domain themselves if they would like. Once it is uploaded to the public domain, anyone can use it, and modify it to how they please, without getting in legal trouble.
Now let’s say you use or post a form of media that isn’t yours without giving credit. This means that you have done copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is when you use sources of media inappropriately that aren’t owned or made by you. This can lead to dealing with criminal charges, and even a possibility of a lawsuit.
Quick Example of A Copyright Issue
For this example, I am going to use the social media platform, Instagram. Let’s say you post a video on Instagram, with clear evident sounds of a song in the background. As we all know, it is going to get flagged and taken down off of Instagram. Why? It is copyright protected. There are three ways you can avoid this issue. First and foremost, when editing the video use the music options provided by instagram. Second, you can use copyright free music as well. Lastly, you can attempt to appeal the infringement through Instagram.
TIPS FOR STUDENTS – when using images
- You can use image free galleries, such as shutterstock.
- Pexels.com has royalty free images that can be used, for free as well as Istock, by Getty Free Images. I highly recommend those two websites when it comes to using photos you don’t personally own!
- One thing to remember is that you can’t use just any image you find online WITHOUT proper permissions. Hence the reason why the websites I mentioned above are perfect for not having to face copyright issues.
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