Copyright, Fair Use, Public Domain

What you need to know about online images

What is Copyright and Fair Use?

Copyright of an image is a federal law of the U.S that protects original works of authorship. Copyright is an automatic right and doesn't require the author to file special paperwork as in this case a trademark or picture and patent. Fair use is the doctrine that brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder.

How do you know if an image is copyrighted and what is public domain?

You should assume every image out there is copyrighted. Just because the picture didn't have a copyright symbol or a c with a circle around it, is not an excuse. Most works published before March 1, 1989 do not require a copyright notice. Search engines are doing their best to provide copyright notice information if it applies, but if it is not there in your search, you shouldn't assume there is none. Public domain pictures are images being available to the public and are not subject to copyright. You can use these images in any way and in most cases you don't have to provide attribution or credit.

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