Graphic Design

What is Copyright? - How to find FREE images!

copyright?

So what exactly is protected under copyright? Who owns a copyright? How does one get a copyright?

You don’t have to have a doctorate in law studies to understand how copyright works, you just need to pay attention!

The first thing you need to know is that everything that you create is copyright protected! Original works are protected the instant you finish them.

 

So...

if you take a selfie of yourself in front of the Eiffel Tower, protected!

If you manipulate a photo you took in photoshop, protected!

If you make a landscape out of Ketchup, Mustard, and Barbecue Sauce, protected!

 

This is why whenever you look at Google images, every image has a caption that says, “images may be subject to copyright.” Unless an image has been given to a Royalty free website, it is technically copywritten. 

If you are looking for images that are free to use, you need to go to a website that posts "public domain" images like morguefile.com or public-domain-image.com.

One thing that has been really handy for me lately is the “Search Tools" in Google Images. Once you click on that it allows you to select “Labeled for reuse.” This filters all the google images ones that have been labeled as public domain. This is AWESOME because now I don’t have to go to 20 different sites to find an image that perfectly fits my purpose, I can just go to Google!

Google Images

But more than just images are protected. There is also literary works, musical works, dramatic works, choreographic works, graphic design, sculptural works, motion pictures, sound recordings, and architectural works. 

 

Rules, rules, rules! “What,” you may ask, “is not copyright protected?”

  1. Ideas, procedures, or discoveries
    • The ingredients of the recipe are not copyrightable, but the instructions are.
  2. Titles, names, short phrases, or slogans
    • Skittles “Taste the Rainbow” is not copyrightable, but it can be trademark protected (which is a topic for another day :)
  3. Facts, news, and research
    • A standard calendar is not copyrightable.
  4. Works made free by the creator
    • Anything distributed by the U.S. Government.
    • Anything posted on a public domain website (like morguefile.com)
  5. Works not fixed in a “tangible expression”
    1. Impromptu speeches that are not written or recorded

 

There are a lot of content out there (especially on the internet) that seems to be free to use, but the truth of the matter is that they are not! But take heart! There are ways to find what you need, you just need to do some digging! (or use some money :) 

What is Copyright? - 5 Myths about copyright

copyright?

Ahhh, Copyright. A vast sea of “grey area.” There is a lot of confusion when it comes to copyright. What is it? Who/what is protected? When can you copy something? Why can’t I use this image, but I can use that one?

I have battled through teaching copyright for the past 5 years and I think I have finally come to understand it. At least, I understand it as well as any non-legal minded art teacher can. :)

My first year teaching, I am ashamed to say that I taught this lesson by downloading a PowerPoint, reading through it one and a half times, and then groping through the lesson slide by slide, trying to ignore the blank stairs that I was receiving from students.

Today, I actually enjoy teaching about copyright (insane, I know). I like the debates that inevitably crop up in class. I like clearing the muddy waters for them (or at least making the waters a little less murky).

In the next few blog posts, I am going to wade through the copyright issue and hopefully give you at least an inkling of what it is all about.

The first thing that we talk about is purpose; why do we have copyright in the first place? Answer? For the creator! The law allows for creators to have control over creations for a set period of time.

Next, we discuss the many myths associated with copyright:

  1. If it is on the internet, it is free to use!
    • The internet is a vast market place for everything from fine artowrk to exotic bird handling e-books! There are many resources that are free on the internet, but there are many more that are not!
  2. If there is no copyright notice, it is free to use!
    • Under federal law, the creator need not post their copyright notice. So unless the item specifically says “public domain” or “free to use,” DON’T USE IT!
  3. If I change the image, I don’t need anyone’s permission!
    • Adding a pig snout to a professional picture of Barak Obama is not necessarily going to transform the image enough in the eyes of the photographer to keep them from knowing that you used their image. Permission would be needed!
  4. If I don’t profit from it, it is free to use!
    • It all goes back to the market. If my use of an image of Hilary Clinton hurts her chance of winning the election, you better believe that someone will be checking to make sure that the image I used was not taken without permission!
  5. If I only use part of the image, it is free to use!
    • And this one is very similar to the previous one, I could take that picture of Hilary Clinton and obscure it so that only her eyes can be seen. But if someone recognizes that the photography was taken with out permission, I could be in big trouble!

 

I am not sure how I got into politics there, I promise I don’t usually discuss politics on my blog...

In the next few weeks we are going to dive head first into the infamous topic of copyright (fun!) and hopefully by the end of it you can at least recognize when you can and cannot use specific images or graphics.

Do you have any questions about copyright? Is there anything that you just don’t understand? Write a comment below and I would LOVE to help you figure it out!

Valentine's Day Lesson

valentines day post

Sometimes I forget about incorporating holidays into my lessons. I know at some schools celebrating holidays has been frowned on, but so far not at my school (cross your fingers, hope to die..).

Anyway, I don’t always incorporate holidays, often I forget about them until they are just a few days away…so without further ado, here are a few ways to do something special for Valentine’s Day this year:A day or so before Valentine’s Day, say something like: "Ok, class, I want you to use everything we have learned so far to make a one sided Valentine’s Day card. Open a new document and make it 5”x7”. Have fun!”

  1. Another thing I like to do is point them to some online tutorials. There are tons of sites out there that teach step-by-step instructions for almost everything. Here are a few that I liked (but I have to be honest with you, I didn’t test them all…):
  2. If you don’t remember until the day of, and you are feeling totally stressed and guilty because you didn’t get as much done as you wanted and kids aren’t enjoying your class as much as you hoped and you are behind in grading and… my advice is to STOP, have some chocolate, and pull the kids out of whatever you have them doing and play a game with them. It can even be an art game. I mentioned one that I like to do in a previous blog post.

 

Don’t feel stressed about feeling the need to incorporate every holiday. YES, you are the art teacher. NO, you don’t need to feel guilty for the things you are too busy to do. 

Whatever you choose to do, just remember, that teaching art should be fun! Hard at times, yes, but fun nonetheless. If you have the time, try one of these tips out, if not, wait until next year. Valentine’s Day will be here again in 365. :)

Are there any tutorial website that you like? Let me know in the comments!