Important copyright concepts when working with Multimedia content
Multimedia content needs to be properly cited just like a book or article. It's also important to understand when it's okay to re-use multimedia content. The following examples give some guidance:
- The image is a public domain work. Generally, anything published in the U.S. before 1923 is in the public domain.
- The image is available under a Creative Commons license. CC images are labeled as such. When using a CC image, be sure to provide proper attribution to the source.
- The image is otherwise made available for re-use by the content provider. Some websites permit you to re-use their images as long as certain conditions are met (e.g. non-commercial use only). In these cases, you can find out whether re-use is permitted by looking at the website’s Terms & Conditions.
- You have permission from the copyright owner.
Sometimes a multimedia image is copyrighted, but re-use qualifies as Fair Use. The concept of fair use means that there are some kinds of uses that do not require permission or payment. Typically, a "four-factor test" is applied to determine if fair use can be claimed or not when using copyrighted content.
Four Factor Test:
- Purpose and Character of the Use - Purposes that favor fair use include education, scholarship, research, and news reporting, as well as criticism and commentary more generally. Non-profit purposes also favor fair use (especially when coupled with one of the other favored purposes.) Commercial or for-profit purposes weigh against fair use.
- Nature of the Original Work - This is typically a consideration of whether the work is more "factual" or more "creative": borrowing from a factual work is more likely to be fair than borrowing from a creative work.
- Amount and Substantiality of the Portion Used - This focuses on the amount of a work is being used (one image from a copyrighted collection of photos versus all the photos in the collection) and substantiality, or whether the work used comprises the "heart" of the original work.
- Effect of the Use on the Potential Market For or Value Of the Source Work - This asks if the use in question substituting for a sale the source’s owner would otherwise make.
Video - Follow the Four Factors of Fair Use