How to Legally Borrow Images & Other Media
Public relations professionals often want to borrow images, including video, photography, graphics, etc. created by others, to visualize their work. The Internet has made that easier to do than in years past. However, borrowing without the content creator's permission may trigger legal action under copyright protections. How can PR professionals avoid this problem?
First, an understanding of what the fuss is all about is helpful ....
What is Intellectual Property?
Creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.
See the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to read more about IP
What is Copyright?
What is Creative Commons?
- Nonprofit organization
- Provides copyright licenses to share and use others creative work — within certain conditions
- Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright.
- Considerations for Licensees (what you need to know before you borrow or modify a work under CC)
Find Media Under Creative Commons
- CC Search (embeds a CC license search into Flickr, Google Images and other search engines)
More Information about Creative Commons
- Gordon-Murnane, L. (2005). Generosity and Copyright: Creative Commons and Creative Commons Search Tools. Searcher, 13(7), 16-23.
- Wajcicki, E. (2010). Creative commons: Sharing works means 'some rights reserved.' Communication: Journalism Education Today, 43(4), 20-21.
Examples of Other Sources of Legally Copied Media, etc.
- Wikimedia Commons
- OpenPhoto (free stock photos)
- Copyright Clearance Center (Commercial service that provides collective copyright licensing services for corporate and academic users of copyrighted materials.)
- Freesound.org (Database of audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps, ... released under Creative Commons licenses.)
- US Government Photos and Images (Images of government, arts, culture, health, etc. that are either in the public domain or subject to licensing.)