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)
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
(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.
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.
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.
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)
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
to the more contemporary…
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.
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.
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
- Pixabay https://pixabay.com/
- Negative Space https://negativespace.co
- Flickr https://www.flickr.com
- Flickr commons https://www.flickr.com/commons (institutional collections)
- Freepik https://www.freepik.com/
- freedigitalphotos http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
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:-
- Copyright the Card Game https://copyrightliteracy.org/2017/10/31/teaching-using-copyright-the-card-game/
- The Publishing Trap https://copyrightliteracy.org/2017/10/20/the-launch-of-the-publishing-trap/
Who says copyright can’t be fun!
Here’s to happy and successful searching 🙂