Knowledge of copyright and fair use guidelines are an important element of eLearning. Many years ago I was asked to create and present a workshop on this topic by a client who said, tongue in cheek, “it seems people think ‘copy right’ means they have “the right to copy.”
Recently I was part of a discussion where I heard an echo of the most oft-repeated fallacy I’d heard many years ago: It’s OK to use someone else’s “stuff” if you’re not making money from it and/or if it’s only for classroom or internal use. Unfortunately, that’s not true. But you can find out what IS true with a little bit of research.
This is my favorite Copyright Website. You can find information on copyright and fair use and view examples of infringement in the movies, in music, and on the Web. (Interesting aside: Did you know George Harrison was sued for subconscious copyright infringement of “My Sweet Lord?” You can check it out here).
If you’re looking for more information, you may want to start with the U.S. Copyright Office.
As you read this information, you’ll see that, as with many things in life, nothing is clear cut. So, it’s often best to check with the originator of the work.
Copyright Blue Computer Key courtesy of Stuart Miles /FreeDigitalPhotos.net.