Fair Use of Online Images
By: Selena Scott
What is copyright? What is Fair Use?
- Copyright is the exclusive legal right of something such as a book, music, lyrics, paintings, sculptures, images, etc. given to someone to have control of. Under the U.S. Copyright Law, your work is protected, and if someone commits copyright infringement, they can be punished by law.
- Fair Use is the use of a copyrighted material on a limited basis for a specific purpose without the permission of the copyright holder.
What is Public Domain and How Does It Apply to Images?
- Works that are submitted into public domain upon creation because they are not copyrightable
- Works that have been assigned to public domain by their creators
- Works that have expired into public domain because the copyright time is over
Many images are under public domain, and do not require permission from the owner to use.
How do I know if an image is copyrighted, and can I use it if it is?
- a copyright symbol
- a note indicating ownership
- an official copyright listing
If an image has any of these things, the image is copyrighted. However, some owners get a Creative Commons license for their work, meaning that it has a public copyright license that allows people to use and distribute the work, as long as they attribute the author.
Some examples of websites with free images and no copyright restrictions are: