A Copyright-Friendly Toolkit

For makers and other media creators (by Joyce Valenza)

Introduction

A true digital citizen understands how to ethically use the works of others to build his or her own creative products—music, art, video, stories, presentations--and share them with the world.


Just as you’d want others to respect your originality, others expect the same of you when it comes to reusing and remixing their intellectual property. As you create and publish media yourself, please be conscious of how you use the work of others.


Here are some guidelines, categories, and tools to consider that will help you as you create, contribute to, and enrich our shared culture!

What is the Creative Commons?

Note: We'll spend a lot of time talking about Creative Commons because it is a critical tool (and concept) for digital age creation and sharing.

As digital content creators you might just want to celebrate the Creative Commons (cc) movement and consider using cc licensing for your own work.


The Creative Commons respects intellectual property while it recognizes the new, more open cultural landscape, and makes it easier for us to legally and ethically share and build on each others' work.


When a work is created, it is automatically protected by Copyright.


Creative Commons licenses allow content creators to maintain copyright over their work, but to modify the traditional all rights reserved (or big C) to a variety of more liberal, copyleft or some rights reserved (or little cc) options.


So, the creator lets the community know whether and/or how he or she wants a work reused and remixed.


See this video for background on the Creative Commons movement:

Mohawk Media. Shortened version of Creative Commons Kiwi. YouTube. 2 Sep. 2012. http://youtu.be/Bccsx_ZuJwo



What is Creative Commons?

How to find Creative Commons content

Creative Commons itself offers a search page, as well as the opportunity to add a cc Search bookmarklet to your browser with a browser plugin.


Creative Commons lists several portals for searching and sharing various types of media:


There are many other portals to help you find: Images, Music, Video! Please click on the three links below!

Some favorite image sources

Flickr: Creative Commons

Flickr Blue Mountain

Compfight / A Flickr Search Tool

FlickrStorm

Foter, PhotoPin, and Wylio (great for bloggers!)

Getty Image (embed images with symbol for noncommercial use)

Wikimedia Commons

Pixabay (public domain photos)

Picdrome (public domain photos)

TinEye (search by CC images by color)

Morgue File

EduPic Graphical Resource (free photos & graphics for education)

World Images Kiosk (global images for academic use)

Public Domain Pictures

Pics4Learning

Imageafter

Wellcome Images

Some of your favorite search tools also offer filters for finding CC images.

So, what do all those Creative Commons License icons mean?

Because the CC licenses let you know explicitly how creators wish their work to be shared, no permission is necessary to reuse. However, attribution or credit is required by most CC licenses.


You need to understand the license options and the easily recognizable icons of the particular Creative Commons license attached to an image, song, or video. CC-licensed content isn’t always free for all uses.


For instance, you wouldn’t wanted to add a drum track to song, re-color an image, or remix a video with a No Derivative Works license.


Creators choose to mix and match this set of four conditions to apply to their work:

These four conditions may be combined in the form of six possible licenses, listed in order from least to most restrictive:


Creative Commons licenses are for you too!

Creative Commons is not just for adults or professionals. Young artists and producers have every right to make decisions and share information about how they would like or not like their own work to be shared, reused, remixed or left alone.

Copyright is automatically assumed, but you have every right to attach an additional cc license to anything you create.


For more information and for guidance, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/

For help in deciding what type of license to attach to your own work, the Creative Commons’ license chooser, will generate a customized image and embed code.


Even if you don’t go to the trouble of visiting Creative Commons to get a logo or code, many media portals—YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, for instance--will allow you to attach licensing as you upload your original work.


You can also incorporate the millions of Creative Commons-licensed videos on YouTube when creating your own videos using the YouTube Video Editor. For more information about Creative Commons, visit creativecommons.org/about.


Public domain materials include government content never covered by copyright and material for which copyright has expired. You may use these materials without asking permission, with attribution.


Unfortunately, public domain content is not always labeled clearly as such. Nevertheless, government portals, like the Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration, NASA, and the various US Military and agency sites offer large archives of public domain content.


Among the richest portals of public domain content are:

· American Memory Collection

· Archive.org (Internet Archive)

· Archive.org Newsreel Search

· NARA (National Archives and Records Administration)

· USA.gov Photos & Images

· National Archives Presidential Libraries and Museums

· US Government YouTube Channel


The video below explains PD from a global perspective.

Open Knowledge Foundation. Public Domain Calculators. n.d. Vimeo. https://vimeo.com/15678944


Public Domain Calculators
However fabulous Creative Commons and Public Domain content may be, sometimes you really need to use copyrighted material.

Say you plan to comment on popular media or current events. For instance, you may be planning to critique the portrayal of Native Americans in commercial films. You are going to want to “quote” some commercial films like Pocahontas, Lone Ranger, and Dances with Wolves. If you are reviewing a book, you may want to share its cover art.


You may use copyrighted content without asking permission if you believe that your use falls under the doctrine known as Fair Use. Fair Use is a little complicated.


In general, when you transform original content, repurpose it, and add value to it in your own remix, you may be able to claim the use fair.


According to American University’s Center for Social Media, these two tests or questions help you plan whether to use the copyrighted work of others without asking permission:


  • Did the unlicensed use "transform" the material taken from the copyrighted work by using it for a different purpose than that of the original, or did it just repeat the work for the same intent and value as the original?
  • Was the material taken appropriate in kind and amount, considering the nature of the copyrighted work and of the use?


Examples of transformative use include: satire and parody, negative or critical commentary, positive commentary, quoting to start a discussion, illustration or example, and incidental use.


AU’s Recut, Reframe Recycle offers specific examples of transformative use in video production.


A variety of “Codes of Best Practices in Fair Use” (http://www.centerforsocialmedia.org/fair-use/best-practices) represent agreed upon norms and boundaries that help clarify what fair use looks like in education, libraries, documentary filmmaking, poetry, media studies, and more.


You will want to download and consult some of the Codes when you plan to ethically use copyrighted materials under fair use. (Or if you are questioning a take-down of your posted media creations.)


The video below explains why the Code for Fair Use in Online Video was created.

American University. Center for Social Media. Remix Culture: Fair Use is Your Friend. http://www.centerforsocialmedia.org/fair-use/video/remix-culture-fair-use-your-friend.


Copyright Education User Rights, Section 107 Music Video
Remix Culture: Fair Use is Your Friend
A Fair(y) Use Tale by Professor Eric Fadden (about copyright)
Understanding fair use - What music you're allowed to use in your videos and when

It’s pretty obvious, but you can remix your own original work in your new creative projects. Use your old stuff or create and use your own new original art, music, and photography, freely--no attribution necessary.


Draw and paint on your tablets or scan your paper work to make it digital Compose or produce using tools like GarageBand, iMovie, MovieMaker, WeVideo, Soundation, or JamStudio, or UJam.


Not all clip art is the same. You may use clipart without permission only if the specific licensing attached to the individual work allows that use.

Images at some clipart sites are fine for school assignments and personal and noncommercial use without citation. Some clipart requires citation; some does not.

Please read licensing notes on the clipart sites you visit and any specific notices relating to an individual image.


Be careful when you search! Media are sometimes "orphaned"

Sometimes it is hard to determine who created a particular song, image, or video. Other people may upload images that do not belong to them and misrepresent their licensing and ownership.

When in doubt about using media, try to identify ownership and you may have to try to contact the creator.

On unidentified flying images

If you’ve found an image you are interested in using, but cannot find any information about its origins, you can drag it into the search bar of Google’s Search by Image. The results are likely to give you clues about the background of the image and where it might live on the web.


If you have any doubts about whether your use of copyrighted media is fair, it is best to ask permission before you reuse or remix it.

Some sites offer pages with information about licensing or asking permission, or perhaps, email or phone contact information.


You may also have some success identifying the Twitter handle of the content creator and opening the permission conversation on Twitter.