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Copyright and Acknowledgments

Since your web pages are fully available to the public, copyright and reserved rights must be respected when using other people's materials.

Copyright

Fair Use

Fair use permits use of extracted material to be used in an educational context before a restricted audience. No permission is required. FAIR USE DOES NOT APPLY TO YOUR WEB PAGES. Even though your material may be educational in content, your audience is not restricted to a classroom.

Copyright

Materials marked with Copyright © have All Rights Reserved. You must obtain permission before using these materials in any way. Original works are protected automatically and are not required to exhibit copyright status. Don't assume that lack of copyright information implies any relinquishment of usage rights.

Public Domain

Materials in the public domain have No Rights Reserved and can be used in any way without permission. They can be copied, altered, and sold. Generally there are only 2 bodies of material in the public domain:

  1. Very old materials created before copyright law or for which copyright has expired.
  2. Material which is placed in the public domain by the original author or artist. Public domain status must be expressly stated.

Royalty-free does not mean free and it does not mean public domain. Clip art and stock photography are examples of material which may be royalty-free, but have still have distribution restrictions, as well as having a purchase cost.

Some Rights Reserved

Somewhere between Copyright and Public Domain is a region of limited protection rights. This is very common, and is found wherever authors are willing to share their material but don't want to lose control over its usage. The author can select rights anywhere in the spectrum. These must be explicitly stated.

Examples of motivations for relinquishing rights:

  1. Educational use--to promote learning
  2. Website or business promotion--freebies, like wallpaper, screensavers or trial software
  3. Feature development, such as open source software

Sample variations on licensing statements you may encounter:

  1. You are free to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.
  2. You are free to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work. You are free to to make derivative works. You are free to make commercial use of the work. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.
  3. You are free to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work. You are free to make commercial use of the work. You must give the original author credit. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.

Read carefully and obey. Ultimately, the purpose of stating the legalese up front is to bypass the permission stage and to promote sharing. You may want to learn more about licensing terminology to protect and share your own creations. Protection and sharing can be equally beneficial to your professional work. One place to start is Creative Commons, a website dedicated to promote sharing of creative works.

Note: You may encounter a copyright notice despite the fact that some rights have been relinquished. This can be attributed to habit and misconceptions about copyright, or it may refer to other content on the page.

Acknowledgements

After obtaining permission when necessary, acknowledge the source. Generally the credit needs to be immediately next to the borrowed material. Full bibliographic credit can be listed elsewhere if needed.

  • © 2001 M. Jones. Used with permission.
  • Image courtesy of M. Jones.
  • Photograph by M. Jones.

Acknowledgements aren't always necessary but may be of interest to your viewers.

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