Posted by: alansylvestre | November 9, 2014

If you’re not making money, is it considered fair use?

Have you ever been in an academic situation where you’ve needed to use a picture, but you didn’t have the right one? So you proceed to Google for the right image. You find the perfect image for the presentation, paper, video, etc… so you use it without even thinking twice about whether or not you need permission.

The short answer is always. There are few times where you don’t need to ask permission. Even in an academic setting, redistributing images without the written consent of the owner violates the Copyright Clause of the Constitution.

On August 18, 1787, the Copyright Clause was amended to the Constitution by the Constitutional Convention. The clause states that an object, once fixed in a tangible form, is the sole property of the creator. Only they are able to provide permission for the redistribution of their material.

In an academic setting, like a presentation or research paper, too often get published after the original project is finished. Does this violate copyright? Even though you’re not intending to make money off of it, you’ve redistributed the material for another audience, without the written consent of the original author.

When discussing copyright with relation to online imagery and videos, it’s important to understand the source the material is coming from. Did you simply pull it from Wikipedia? Did you find it through a Creative Commons search where it clearly states the material can be redistributed? If I use this image, am I infringing upon somebody’s copyright?

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