Copyright! Fair Use! Creative Commons! Public Domain!

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Guidelines for Fair Use
The doctrine of fair use came about after years of court cases dealing with copyright law.

Section 107 of copyright law contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair.  It may be considered fair use if the reproduction of copyrighted work is for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. 

Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work
Here are some resources for more information and guidance about fair use:

Center for Social Media
Fair Use Evaluator
Stanford Copyright and Fair Use

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution. It is granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, discoveries, or methods of operation. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works. Copyright protection begins the moment a tangible medium of expression is created. To use copyrighted materials permission must be granted by the creator.

Here are more resources about copyright law.

Teaching Copyright
Stanford Copyright FAQs

Creative Commons Licenses
Creative Commons licenses allow creators to grant permission for others to use their work in certain ways without having to ask permission. This short three minute video will explain more about Creative Commons licenses.

To find photos which are licensed under creative commons licenses use Compfight.  Filter the search for just creative commons licensed photos.

Wikimedia can also be a source of images that can be reused without permission from the copyright owner.

Public Domain
If a work is in the public domain it is ABSOLUTELY FREE TO USE! COPY IT ALL YOU WANT! These public domain works are NOT protected by intellectual property laws.

How do you know if a text, a song, or a piece of art work is in the public domain?

Most works enter the public domain because of old age.  Any work published in the United States before 1923 or works published before 1964 for which copyrights were not renewed are in the public domain. Some works fell into the public domain because they were published in the United States  before March 1, 1989  without a the necessary copyright notice, Some  owners of copyright protected works  indicated wished to give the public use of their works without copyright protection.

These sites will help you locate books in the public domain:
Authorama-Public Domain Books

Project Gutenberg is the place where you can download over 33,000 free ebooks many of which are in the public domain.

For royalty free music try incompetech. These pieces of music can be placed in Garageband and remix to make original works!

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