Copyright and CopyWRONG

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Hello again,

I’m somewhat familiar with copyright rules, being a music teacher.  I’m actually in the middle of teaching my middle school students about what copyright law is about and how it protectors the songwriter.  With blogging, I knew I had to be careful about using images found on the webernet.  But, I didn’t know real specifics, and since I’m actually taking this blogging thing somewhat seriously, I decided to look into exactly what is OK and what isn’t.  Just like music, many people illegally copy stuff, it happens all the time and I know no one personally that has gotten busted.  But that doesn’t make it OK!  And it certainly doesn’t give me any protection.

In a nutshell, I have found that I can use 2 kids of images (well, 3.):

  1. My own (definitely the best way to go because there’s no question there!)
  2. Images that are public domain or are under Creative Commons License (you have to attribute the image to the source usually).  This guide by Foter.com spells out how to properly attribute Creative Commons Photos.  Creative Commons licensing is basically for people to create stuff and allow other people to use it for free, with a few stipulations (usually means you have to note where you got it, the type of license, and who the author is).
  3. Images that I have been expressly given permission to use by the artist!

This article explained one blogger’s experience with getting into hot water by using images she wasn’t allowed to.  The biggest thing to take away is that you have to educate yourself on the rules and you can’t use your own ignorance or think its ok if you did so innocently.  Copyright law does have some gray area and some room for interpretation, but there’s some basic rules to follow.  It stinks, but I’m going to do my best and stay out of trouble!

This is giving me a nasty feeling of dejavu… when you’re in high school and you’ve finally just finished a big writing assignment, and then you realize no, I’m not done, I still have to write the Works Cited!!!  Agh!  This kind of reminds me of that.  But, it’s kind of like a moral issue, as well as a legal issue, so …. gotta do it.

Now I just have to figure out how to attribute things and make it look pretty…

Any suggestions?

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