The basic rule
The basic rule of copyright is if you create it, the copyright is by default, yours. When you post something on the internet, this rule generally still applies. So, if someone were to steal your work and pass it off as something they did or if they try to make money from something you created and then posted, you can take steps to claim your work and make them take it down – broadly speaking.
What is Fair Use?
Fair use is when you take copyrighted material and comment on it or make a parody of it. This kind of use is permitted without having to acquire permission from the copyright holder/creator. For example, quoting or summarizing books, music, articles, referencing medical journals, etc, are all examples of fair use. Simply put -Fair use is borrowing bits and pieces from the original material or making a parody out of the original material but not copying it entirely.
Posting Photos and Videos on Social Media
Did you know that if you post a photo, a poem, a video to social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., while you still own the original copyright, you have also granted the social media outlets a license to reuse the photos, the poems, the videos to use for their own purposes?
This does not mean that people can take these things from Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and use it for their own purposes. You still own the copyright and so you can take legal action against anyone who tries to do this. However, you should always be aware that when you add these things to social media, you have also then granted them the right to reuse it.
Google Image Search
Google image search is a great tool that you can use for visualizing what it is you are searching for. However, those images are under copyright by the original creator. This means, as tempting as it might be to copy and paste that perfect image you found into your own newsletter or use it for a promotional piece, you will want to think twice. Google image search is not a repository of public domain images or copyright-free, therefore, you will want to assume that any image you come across is protected by copyright.
Copyright Tips and Best Practices
- Only use images, text or other copyrighted material that have a Creative Commons (CC) license. You will also want to make sure to read the terms of service as not all Creative Commons licenses are the same and may come with additional terms.
- Purchase your images from stock photo sites.
- If you found the perfect image and it’s not available on a stock photo site for you to purchase, you can always find the original owner and get permission for use.