I love poster images and inspirational quotes. Sometimes they just make my day or encourage me to keep going. Images create emotional responses and so are a powerful addition to our communications. But whose images do we use?
I favorited an inspirational image this morning on Twitter, and it led me on a journey:
- Image Search
- Copyright and Creative Commons
Twitter is a wonderful place to share, and of course we Tweet, reTweet and Favorite to share back to our Personal Learning Network [PLN]. But what if I want to use that image in a post? Do I have permission? First, as I usually do, I asked my peep if she had created the image. She didn’t know the source, which is common in Twitterverse because we like to share a good thing. But I really did like the image and wanted to know if I could use it. Fortunately, Google provides an image search:
Here you see the results, including a name “eric moung,” which is a first clue. I clicked on the first unannoted image hoping it would take me to the original image, but that site did not know the source.
So I clicked on the second unannotated image which brought me to a post on aDigitalBoom which provided the information about the original image. The original image is a copyrighted avatar created by Soul Division Studies for the singer Eric Moung, who is credited as the “Voice of Soul Division.”
But what about the annotated image? Had the message creator received permission and created a Creative Commons image I could use? For this I went back to my original search results and clicked “All Sizes” to find all the images like the one for which I had searched.
There were many. So I started a “time” search —
I searched by year and then my month in 2014 until I found the first instance, May 1,2014-Jun 1, 2014 (see second menu in image).
I found the image on Facebook where Global Peace and Unity had shared Fractal Enlightenment‘s photo, dated April 28, in which the post credited the artist Eric Moung. I also found a pin image on Pinterest uploaded about the same time by clicking on one of the searched images leading to weheartit. None of those links shared who created to annotated image.
Copyright and Creative Commons
So does the annotated image represent Copyright Fair Use ? That’s not for me to say, but without permission, I will honor the artist’s copyright.
According to Copyright Basics, a publication of the United States Copyright Office:
Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is cre
ated in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship
immediately becomes the property of the author who cre
ated the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights
through the author can rightfully claim copyright.
I have many images online with a Creative Commons license, but many that are personal are copyrighted, and some are licensed as re-useable, but not re-mixable or adaptable. That’s the beauty of a Creative Commons license: choose what fits, and honor those licenses. According to the Creative Commons mission:
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.
Be sure to learn about the Open Policy Network and how it works. Begin to choose and use Creative Commons licenses. And educate your students and families about copyright and creative commons.
I teach sixth through eighth grades, and although my students don’t often carry the expectation through to their personal online presence, at school, my students know to credit the source, and to use only Creative Commons or Public Domain images. If students find an image or chart/diagram whose license they are unsure of or is copyrighted, we visit WikiMedia Commons or Search.CreativeCommons using keywords to find alternative images. And we still cite these sources. This year we began using EasyBib or Citation Machine as a citation maker for our work. There are others. Previously, we simply linked to the URL; that is a starting point — but we are learning to be more precise and professional.
Whether images or content, cite your sources. Use image search to discover the original artist and their permissions. Find an alternative image that allows reuse.
My husband says this will be the most boring, unread post I’ll write because no one pays attention. Perhaps he’s right, but I’ve discovered my next year’s homework assignments. I don’t usually assign homework — my student’s have lives and chores and sports to worry about. However, sharing citizenship responsibilities about the use of content and images is something worth sharing with families. And students will learn more by teaching them to someone else.
I’d like to thank @bethhill2829 Bethany Hill for leading me on this journey today. I’ve found resources and lessons to share with my PLN and students as I refine my fair use of intellectual property.
What are your favorite resources on copyright, copyleft, and Creative Commons, and how do you teach these to students and their families? And remember to ask: Whose image is it?
Burroughs Quote Source:
“Nothing_exists_until_or_unless_it_is_observed.” Columbia World of Quotations. Columbia University Press, 1996. 07 Jun. 2014. <Dictionary.comhttp://quotes.dictionary.com/Nothing_exists_until_or_unless_it_is_observed>.
Image created with Visual Poetry and posted on Instagram using original photography.
Other images: Screenshots of search.