When creating media rich content, you’ll want to use videos and images that you didn’t create yourself. At that point you will have to deal with legal rules and copyright. So it is important to take into account some knowledge about what is allowed and what not.
Copyright or author’s right
Copyright or author’s right is related to artistic creations (such as books, music, paintings, and sculptures), films, and technology-based works (such as computer programs and electronic databases). In most European languages other than English, copyright is known as author’s rights. The expression copyright refers to the main act which, in respect of literary and artistic creations, may be made only by the author or with his authorization. That act is making copies of the work.
The expression author’s rights refers to the creator of the artistic work, its author. It thus underlines the fact, recognized by most laws, that authors have certain specific rights to their creation which only they can exercise (such as the right to prevent a distorted reproduction). Other rights (such as the right to make copies) can be exercised by other persons, for example, a publisher who has obtained a license from the author.
As an instructor, when creating media rich content, it is wise to take copyright into account.
Audio-visual works, such as films on DVD and television broadcasts, are usually copyrighted. In principle, you need permission from the makers or publisher to show these images. For educational purposes – i.e. when watching video in the classroom – you do not need permission. However, the screening must be demonstrably labelled and recorded in the curriculum.
Audio-visual works, such as films on DVD and television broadcasts, are usually copyrighted. In principle, you need permission from the makers or publisher to show these images. For educational purposes – i.e. when watching video in the classroom – you do not need permission. However, the screening must be demonstrably labelled and recorded in the curriculum. For teaching purposes, it is permitted to show copyrighted video images in the classroom. So you can watch a broadcast of SchoolTV or a DVD with a documentary, without having to ask permission beforehand. However, the screening must be demonstrably recorded in the curriculum with a title.
Copyleft licenses are non-restrictive and provide creators with greater control over their work, research, projects, and a more reasonable remuneration for their work while also giving end users greater access to, and enjoyment of works released in this way. There are different types of free licenses according to the scope related (software, scientific paper, music, art, etc.).
Public domain refers to works whose property rights have expired.
According to Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, works protected by author rights fall under public domain 50 years after the author’s death. But this convention recognizes the right of countries which have signed the Convention to extend the protection period to 100 years after the death of the author. So it is wise to check what period of time is used in your country.
Works in the public domain can be used without explicit permission of the author and without payment on the condition that the moral rights are respected.
Creative Commons offers authors, artists, scientists, educators and all other creative creators the freedom to deal with their copyrights in a flexible way. With a choice of six (free) standard licenses available, the copyright owner determines to what extent his or her work may be further distributed, and under what conditions.
With a Creative Commons license you retain all your rights, but you also give permission to others to distribute your work, share it with others, or under some licenses also to edit the work. Offering your work under a Creative Commons license does not mean that you give up your copyrights. Without a Creative Commons license, everyone would have to ask explicit permission from you for any use of your work. With a Creative Commons license, you can make it clear to everyone at once under what conditions they can use your work without the need for permission each time.
The building blocks of the licenses:
You allow others to copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work, and to create derivative works based on your work – but only if you are listed as the creator.
Others may copy, display, distribute and perform your work, as well as any material based on your work, provided that it is not for commercial purposes.
No Derivative Works No Derivative Works.
Others may copy, distribute, display, and perform your work provided the work remains in its original condition. Others are not permitted to use your work as the basis for new material.
Share Alike Like.
You permit others to create material derived from your work under the condition that they release it under the same license as the original work.
The Attribution Condition is a mandatory part of each license and Equivalent Sharing and No Derivative Works are incompatible in the same license. As a result, six different combinations are possible in the end.
The six Creative Commons licenses
Based on these four building blocks, there are a total of six different Creative Commons licenses. Below you’ll find the six licenses ranked from least restrictive to most restrictive.
Wikipedia offers the following explanation of the symbols. By combining them you understand the six possibilities.
Websites with free and ‘rights free’ images
Quotation marks. Quotation marks? Why? According to Charlotte’s Law, “royalty-free” is a fable unless a period of 70 years has elapsed since the maker’s death. In that case the work falls into the public domain and you may do with it whatever you want’ (Charlotte Meindersma, 2015).
Is the work you want to use not in the public domain? Always check if the license allows you to use the material. You can confidently use the material on the websites below:
- Wikimedia Commons (iamges, audio, video)
- Pixabay (images)
- Unsplash (images)
- Pexels (images)
- Picjumbo (images)
- Dreamstime (images, but, be aware to search via the ‘free photos’ option)
- Rawpixel (images, but, be aware to search via the ‘Public Domain’ option)
- Flickr (images, but, be aware: filter through Creative Commons-licence)
- Sclera (pictograms)
- Europeana collections (text, images, audio, video about cultural heritage)
- Creative Commons Legal Music For Videos (audio)
This work is in the public domain or it can be images with up to a Creative Commons CC BY SA license. In the latter case, you may share and edit the work. Provided that you share the new work with the same license and mention the creator of the original work.