the naughty no of image theft

warning exclamation sign
https://pixabay.com/en/warning-shield-risk-attention-838655/

So yesterday, I attended a presentation about student blogging in a module for summative assessment. It was a brilliant example of teaching and learning in a digital age with opportunities for picking up masses of new digital skills and literacies (for staff as well as students!)

Much of it was not new for example students unsure about putting words into the public domain, and being less digitally confident than the ‘digital natives’ literature would have us believe – initially at least.

(Its amazing how staff still refer to students as being digitally savvy when practice suggests otherwise, in particular with critical digital literacies and the use of online resources)

social media icons on a tree
https://pixabay.com/en/tree-structure-networks-internet-200795/

What did get me thinking was the attitudes expressed towards the use of online images because basically if staff are stealing from the internet then students will think its ok to do it too.

I get it!

I really do get how much easier it is when time poor, in a rush and the perfect image is sitting there – waiting for you to right click and pop it into the presentation or upload to the VLE. I try to cite images sources on my blog but have been known to make a collage style picture and not include references for each component

and even

(confession is good for you)

I sometimes take a picture which isn’t mine to use simply because its so good and my presentation will be so much poorer without it.

We all do it and to a certain extent we’re protected in higher education by the principles of Fair Dealing. Fair Deal is flexible. There’s no legal definition but each case is assessed individually.

Having said that, the process of interpretation of Fair Deal can be as complex as copyright law itself but what is worth knowing is even if you use the image for teaching (or illustration purposes as the law calls it) acknowledgement of the source must still be given. It’s not quite the clear cut permission to take what you want as many people believe.

image of a padlok against computer code
https://pixabay.com/en/hacker-hacking-cyber-security-hack-1944688/

So why is image theft a problem?

Copyright – the right to claim ownership of an artifact – is a legal issue. Copyright theft is a criminal act.  We owe it to students to have the copyright conversation and point them towards sources of copyright free images – which are getting better every year.

Copyright is also an employability issue. We shouldn’t be sending students into the workplace believing if its online then it’s in the public domain and free to use. Graduates need to be digitally literate and the what, why and wherefore of image theft is an integral part of this.

selection of digital tools and devices
https://pixabay.com/en/laptop-technology-computer-business-3244483/

The best thing is it’s never been easier to find copyright free images. One of the questions asked in the session was about where to find images which can be used. Apart from taking them yourself – which can be an excellent solution – there are a number of reliable sources but take care – many sites advertise as being free but a few clicks in and you realise only the paid for premium version fulfils the promises made in the marketing blurb and don’t forget – in 99% of the time you still need to cite the author/owner of the work.

Getting Started

Google Advanced Search

  • In Returned Search page go to Settings > Advanced Search > usage rights
  • In Images go to Tools > usage rights

Usage rights explanations
(for further details go to https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/29508?hl=en)

google image rights
screen shot from Google Advanced Search page

The usage rights are related to Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org   licenses

  • Not Filtered by license means everything regardless of copyright status
  • Free to use or share – can be taken but (see above) in nst cases requires attributions
  • Free to use of share – even commercially
  • Free to use share or modify – this is known as repurposing and generally requires the repurposed item to then be licensed in the same way – check the small print!
  • Free to use share or modify, even commercially – ditto

Alternatively, you can check the status of individual images to see if they’ve been made available through a creative commons license.  There are six CC https://creativecommons.org licences with lots of different ways to represent them visually, ranging from the original

Creative Commons Licenses
from https://pixabay.com/en/creative-commons-licenses-icons-by-783531/

to the more contemporary…

Creative Commons Licenses
https://foter.com/blog/how-to-attribute-creative-commons-photos/

Key points to remember are attribution is nearly always required and if you reuse/repurpose you should apply the same lincense which gave you the freedom to do so in the first place

As well as google and direct image searching, there are a growing number of repositories of copyright free images but like everything on the internet – look out for the good, the bad and the ugly – in particular sites which claim to be free financially as well as by copyright but in reality ask you to sign up to a premium paid for version to access the images you want.

Many of these sites should also come with a health warning.

Red Triangle warnng sigh with falling rocks

WARNING! you are about to lose huge amounts of time

   are you sure you want to continue…

For me, it’s procrastination heaven, in particular when I should be doing my research instead!  I love the scanned photograph collection from the British Library   As where as you might expect, there’s a wealth of history from 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Click onto their Albums section to get started. Several years ago the BL launched Turning the Pages – a fabulous collection of manuscripts ranging from cultural icons like the Book of Kells, Baybar’s Qur’an and the Golden Haggadah Prayer Book – all alongside original work by Jane Austen, Louis Carroll, Mozart, Da’Vinci and more – much, much more.

You may be gone for some time.

logo for wikimedia commons
Wikimedia Foundation [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons also offer free images, although most are in .svg format which is not without issues but Wikimedia gives you all the relevant authorship information to copy and paste into your resource.

No excuse for non-attribution!

Finally, some image sites which I’ve used and can vouch for

If you want to add your favourites, please use the comment box below or tweet @suewatling

When using images don’t forget to fill in the Alt text box with an alternative description of the images and why it’s there. This is for screen readers or other text-to-speech software to ensure those who can’t see the image can still know what its purpose is.

For additional information on copyright one of the best sources is https://copyrightliteracy.org/ by Chris Morrison and Jane Secker. They even have  copyright games:-

Who says copyright can’t be fun!

Here’s to happy and successful searching 🙂

 

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Don’t let copyright take over your life – follow this advice instead

Georgia O'Keefe publicity poster showing white poppy painting

This week I visited the Georgia O’Keefe exhibition at Tate Modern. No photographs allowed. In the other rooms you could take photos (no flash) so by uploading Monet and Rothko here am I breaking copyright law?

img_1686 img_1685

What about the photo of the shop selling copies of O’Keefe’s paintings – a copy of a copy of a copy….

wall of O'Keefe paintings in the Tate Modern shop

Monet has been dead 90 years. Rothko for 46 years. These are my own photographs. When, where and how does the 50 year rule apply?

Did the Hargreaves Review (2011) really say educational usage is exempt from copyright law?

What’s the difference between Fair Use and Fair Deal?

Fair Use applies to the US. Fair Deal is the UK legal term for whether the use of copyright material is lawful or infringes copyright.  It takes a brave person to venture in There is no statutory definition of fair dealing – it will always be a matter of fact, degree and impression in each case.’ from Exceptions to copyright: Education and Teaching, from the government’s Intellectual Property Office.

red circle with black C for copyright and a red

Copyright is the law most often broken. We’e all done it. Taken images from the internet for presentations and resources. If they’re already in the public domain then it’s ok isn’t it? We’re in a hurry and the image is just what we want and who’s going to know anyway!

I don’t pretend to have the answers. Copyright confuses me as much as anyone. So I’ve given up trying to know it and have changed my approach instead. If you’re also perplexed by the whole copyright issue this might help. If it’s something you’ve never thought about, it might help too.

  1. Where ever possible take your own photographs. These are free to use without worry. It gets complicated if they involve other people so try not to – if unavoidable ask for permission to put them online.
  2. Go to collections of copyright free images. Pixabay is a great place to start with https://pixabay.com/
  3. Use Google’s Advanced Image Search (under the options cog top right or click here and bookmark the page). Select from the drop down menu against Usage Rights. Free to Use or Share is safest but there are other options too.
  4. Wikipedia can be your friend. Most of their images are in the public domain. Click onto any image to see its copyright information. Take care with their use of the term Fair Use. This is US coyright law. In the UK we have Fair Deal and it is different.
  5. Beware thinking Fair Deal protects you. See the quote above from the Intellectual Property Office.

White I was in London I noticed outside the British Museum was a telephone box with a mattress inside. No one was taking any notice but I stopped to photograph it thinking it might be useful one day.  It’s become a habit and this is the problem with copyright. It can take over your life if you let it. So don’t and follow the advice above instead!

red phone box with a mattress inside