Information has value.
Whether it is an image, article, a video, a book, or any other source, it is important to respect the copyright held by the owner of the copyright. Sections 17 & 18 of the U.S. legal code explain more about copyright infringement and the potential legal consequences.
When doing school projects, it is important to be familiar with two types of resources that could be enormously helpful:
- Public Domain works: These are works that have entered the "public domain" and are free to use and no longer have any common law protection. For specific information, please, refer to the U.S. Copyright Office website. These items don't require specific attribution, but it is often helpful and useful so that the user of the information can locate it in the future.*
- Creative Commons works: Creative Commons is a "nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools." Their licenses make it easy for one to create a work and share it with others, while conveniently deciding the terms of the work. When using works discovered through this libguide, be aware of the license for each item.
Fair Use: If you are uncertain after reviewing the copyright terms of the item you are using, be sure to be familiar with federal fair use principles as identified in Section 17 of the U.S. Legal Code.
The four principles identified in the code as helping determine what constitutes fair use include:
- the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- the nature of the copyrighted work;
- the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
* Tip compliments of the Harvard Law Library