Copyright, Fair Use, and Public Domain Resourcesexternal image xid-12844008_2 external image xid-12844009_2
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Before you start using images on your website/multimedia project, make your you have a basic understanding of copyright law. It’s sounds pretty scary but if you are educated on the basics of copyright you can easily avoid breaking the law and still have a good looking website/multimedia project. A copyright is a federal law of the United States that protects original works of authorship. A work of authorship includes literary, written, dramatic, artistic, musical and certain other types of works.
Copyright is established as soon as the original work commences (applies to work-in-progress and incomplete work) and is automatic, which means there is no special paperwork like trademarks and patents. The copyright owner has exclusive rights to reproduce, showcase publicly, change, and distribute said work. The general rule of thumb is that one cannot use a copyrighted photo without express authorization from the owner.
However, copyright law has a “Fair Use” clause that balances out the interest of the general public. While it may not seem fair to the copyright owner, the “Fair Use” clause allows for limited and reasonable uses as long as the use does not interfere with owners’ rights or impede their right to do with the work as they wish. Cases of copyright infringement are open to interpretation by the courts based on the following factors: purpose and character of use nature of copyrighted work portion of work used affect on the market or value of work. Generally, speaking if the use of an image is for the greater good, with no educational purposes and no profit motive, the reuse of the photo is probably acceptable.
A classic example is the reuse of manufacturer photos for a product review. Before you use an image, consider the following: Attribution and linking back to the original image is not a case for “Fair Use.” Citation is about plagiarism not copyright. If your use of a photo falls within fair use, attribution is not necessary. If the image is being used to support reviews, reporting, teaching or research it is most likely considered “fair use.” However, using an image for aesthetic purposes does not fall with in the realm of “fair use.” If you are transforming the image and incorporating it into a larger image or piece of work, you are more likely find an exception to the exclusive copyright. Using a small version of an image to link back to a site or a small piece of an image to illustrate a concept, is more likely meet the requirement for “fair use.”
If you are in doubt, is it something you are willing to risk a lawsuit case over? People do get sued over this stuff and it’s no joking matter. When in doubt you should assume the image is copyright protected. If you are not sure if you can claim “fair use” you have two options: ask for permission or leave it out.
Should you decide to omit the image in question, there are plenty of locations for sourcing free and paid images including the following:

Let's make music for our Digital Re-enactment


Video on the legal in's and out's of using FREE music and sound effects

Site for FREE Music Downloads:

List of Free Music Sites:

Sites for FREE Sound Effects

Video on FREE sound effects sites

Site to work with background images for Digital Re-enactments

Pixlr Directions

Sites for Copyright FREE IMAGES and MOVIES

Creative Commons (free – and links to 13 diff creative commons sites)
Photo Pin (free) 500px (free)
Stock.exchng (free)
Dreamstime (free)
Stock Free Images (free) (free) (free)
Prelinger Archives of Public Domain Media