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Hope Library Guides

Using Multimedia Legally: A Guide to Finding and Using Multimedia in Digital Projects: Home

This guide provides a brief overview of how to find and locate multimedia for projects that can be used legally in educational class projects.

Digital Liberal Arts Librarian

Victoria Longfield's picture
Victoria Longfield
Contact:
227 - 2nd floor
Van Wylen Library
616-395-7013

FYS Research Librarian

Copyright Basics

What is Copyright?

  • Provides a financial incentive for creators to create, by giving thcopyright imageem a limited monopoly on their creations

  • Allows for the flourishing of culture and ideas
  • Happen automatically!  When someone puts something creative in a tangible form (written, image, audio, media) they automatically receive copyright protection

 

Rights Received Under Copyright

  1. Make copies
  2. Make derivative works
  3. Distribute
  4. Perform Publicly
  5. Display
  6. Making digital audio transmissions

 

Bottom line - When you use the creative works of others, you have to make sure that you are keeping in mind their rights as authors.

 

"I've never had to think about copyright for my papers and presentations.  How is this different for a digital project?"

  • Because there is a limited audience for these projects, typically just your professor and fellow classmates, and you are creating it for educational purposes, most of this work falls squarely under "Fair Use" which is an allowance made for copyright materials to be used without permission. (See the Fair Use section for more info!)
  • Digital projects potentially have a much wider audience because they are online, so "Fair Use" doesn't apply as clearly here.

"How Does this Compare to Plagiarism?  I know not to plagiarize, so how is copyright different?"

  • Plagiarism is an ETHICAL issue that involves clearly showing the different between your work and ideas and the work and ideas of others.
  • Copyright is a LEGAL issue that protects the rights of creators.

"But I've found this stuff online, so since it's already "out there" for everyone to see and use, it's ok for me to do the same, right?"

  • Just because media or image has been put online somewhere doesn't mean that it has been done legally.  And even if they have gotten the proper permission to use someone else's materials doesn't mean that you automatically have the same permission!

"OK, now I'm worried!  How do I complete my project and do this correctly?"

  • This guide is here to help! 
  • Basically make sure that you only embed materials from sites that let you do this (like YouTube or Vimeo), so that your viewers can always get back to the original content, or only upload materials that you have permission to use because they are Open Access or have Creative Commons Licenses.