It’s a catch phrase for sure, but it’s also true. While it’s easier than ever to find great visuals, awesome music, and video excerpts that are perfect for your presentation or project, it’s also more problematic than ever to use them. New laws, licensing, and other restrictions present a complicated landscape to navigate when you’re just trying to finish a PowerPoint. Here to decipher some of the more confusing aspects of what you can and cannot use is Heidi Senior, Reference & Instruction Librarian with the Clark Library. In this podcast, Heidi leads us through the tangled world of copyright, Creative Commons, Google Images, Getty Images, and other popular repositories.
It’s incumbent on everyone to know something about the copyright issues in the modern environment, and to understand that we do need to dig deeper and learn what the status is of any particular image or piece music that we want to use.
Heidi shares her tips for finding usable images, music, and videos with our listeners.
Complete transcript of the podcast.
From Our Conversation
Heidi: Where there are concerns about deviating from fair use is when students using images and music, if it’s entirely within the classroom, maybe that would be ok, but typically we want to put these presentations somewhere in a public environment. So then you’re making a copy of that work and you’re introducing it into the public space. And there are more issues involved in using things that way. You are adding to the availability of the material in the public sphere. You’re increasing the likelihood that someone else will copy that material and use it in their own presentation.
Maria: Everything has changed now that all of the sudden your classroom presentation that you shared in front of your classmates inside of 4 walls is now in front of the world basically because we’re putting everything online.
Maria: And that’s really introducing an element that is brand new to everybody.
Heidi: Right and if you think about the world of information, the way a person would have even learned that an image existed years ago, they would have had to probably go to a library and had to look at books perhaps, or they would have gone to a photo archive. They would have identified a physical photo that they wanted to use in their presentation. They would have talked to people who would mediate that experience and describe for them the process of putting that item for them in their publication or film or whatever they were creating. And, in that mediation, they would have learned that they would have to pay to compensate the photographer, the archive, the curator, all of the people that are involved in that process of making that material visible. Now, that material is visible immediately through a quick Internet search, through Google or whatever search engine, you can see hundreds of images at a glance, and obtain them with a click of a mouse. And there’s no mediation.
Sam: Well I liked the saying that your colleague has…
Heidi: That saying is, “Findable is not useable.”
Locating Open Music and Images for Multimedia Projects – Recommended reference sheet for finding usable media