Six minute video on copyright basics

6 minute video about copyright fair use, attributions and sharing of content. (from the Copyright Clearance Center).

Information on clipart sources, common myths on copyright, overview of copyright and definitions of copyright are briefly covered in this information to assist in the understanding of copyright issues.

ClipArt websites

Copyright Myths

Myth #1: If the image is on the web, it’s ok to use.
Not true. Every image on the web has been created by someone and they hold the copyright. You have to ask permission to use and get the proper affiliation from the owner. Use the college form and get signed permission.

Myth #2: If the image is from another source for educational purposes, it’s ok to use.
Not true. Educational materials from someone still requires permission or/and affiliation credits. 

Myth #3: The Microsoft Office clipart is free to use on anything.
Not True. Microsoft Office clipart through the Bing Search is not copyright free. You need to follow the links to the owner of the image and follow the policy for that image.

Myth #4: I pay for a clipart subscription so I can use the images on anything.
Not True. Always read the licensing/policies for a paid subscription. No one but you can use the images, no sharing.

Myth #5: If I take my own images and put them on Flickr, I can use them anytime!
Not True. You will need permissions to use any photos with people. Use the permission forms. Review the forms annually, people change their minds!


Copyright Overview

Images have copyright restrictions just like any other creative work.
Clipart, whether obtained from a website or a CD of images, is not yours to use however you please. Most clipart images come with a royalty free license. This allows you to use the image for personal, educational, or non-profit applications. It does not allow for commercial use of the image. Commercial use means that you are selling something. Even if your project is an instructional guide that educates the reader about a topic, it is still considered a commercial project if you are selling it. You are responsible for third party materials too. If you create a flyer with educational use only clipart, but it’s used by a partner organization to sell a product, you will be misusing the license.

Give proper credit
Images from a web site, image library or another source require to be credited on the publication. If you are not sure if the image is ok to use, find out the source of origin, and get written permission to use it. is a paid subscription service, and part of the requirements for using images is to credit them. Once you use an image from the library, you cannot share the image with a non-subscriber than your account. 

Definitions of copyright types:

Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country, that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution, usually for a limited time, with the intention of enabling the creator (e.g. the photographer of a photograph or the author of a book) to receive compensation for their intellectual effort. 

Public Domain Images In the United States, images created before 1923 are considered in the public domain and thus able to be used for commercial purposes without paying fees to the original copyright holder. Images created after 1923 are not in the public domain unless permission has been specifically granted by the artist or it was published by the federal government.

Royalty-free, or RF, refers to the right to use copyrighted material or intellectual property without the need to pay royalties or license fees for each use or per volume sold, or some time period of use or sales.  Royalty-free - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Creative Commons License is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that they have created. CC provides an author flexibility (for example, they might choose to allow only non-commercial uses of their own work) and protects the people who use or redistribute an author's work from concerns of copyright infringement as long as they abide by the conditions that are specified in the license by which the author distributes the work.