Upon first seeing that this week’s assignment was to learn more about copyright, I must admit that my reaction was a little bit like that of the cat above reacting to such an uncomfortable, hideous outfit. I understand its purpose but I also understand that noting it takes a little extra time and care, which is all the more reason to make it a habit for myself and my future students. Once you get in the habit of searching for legally reusable images, it’s like putting on your seatbelt– you almost forget that you are doing it/did it.
Not all images are created equal.
Speaking of reusable images, we are reminded this week that not all images on Google search are in fact reusable. In the age of Tumblr, Facebook, and Pinterest, it is easy to disregard the original source when re-posting images. Let’s be real here– most people, namely average “joes” redistributing content, do not care. At the same time, that does a disservice to the creators of awesome content. Potentially, such negligence to attribution could act as a deterrent to sharing content online and lead to a decline in accessibility.
To be fair to the creators of the world, we must attribute a source to work, even images, that we re-post, just like you would on paper and in writing. One of the easiest ways to do is by using Google’s Advanced Search and selecting one of five options.
The five options you will see under usage rights aligns fairly closely with the variations of Creative Commons licenses.
- “Not filtered by license”- The search results you will get from Google if you do not use an advanced search. What most people are probably familiar with, despite not realizing it.
- “Free to use or share”- What you should be using if you intend to re-post or share. This is the least restrictive form of copyright and depending on the specific Creative Commons license, results from this search can be manipulated. Some images from these results will simply be free to use because they are a part of public domain.
- “Free to use or share, even commercially”- Search results will include those with online copyright that is acceptable to use for personal use or for larger audiences.
- “Free to use, share, or modify”- If you intend to change an image to suit your needs, use this search.
- “Free to use, share, or modify, even commercially”-The least restrictive form of search, certainly useful and still protective of content authors.
To find the cat image at the top of this post, I used Google’s advanced search on “free to use or share.” To be sure that image was protected, I found the original source and verified its Creative Commons license, which read in the right bottom corner along with the CC logo, “Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.” In plain English, that means I could not distribute the image under a commercial name, such as use it in a Wal-Mart advertisement/commercial. Additionally, I cannot modify it because it does not allow derivatives. Because the cat image is from DeviantArt, the artist is clearly identified, as is everything about the image, right down to the type of camera used for the photo.
Modeling Attribution Skills for Students
In today’s classroom full of digital natives, or students that have grown up immersed in technology, it is especially important to teach them how to successfully search for academic sources and also how to cite the ones that appear to be non-academic, like blog images. They already know how to search for things on Google but chances are, they have developed poor habits. Expect them to seek the quickest, easy way out– students are practical humans looking for short cuts. Show them them how easy it is to use Google Advanced Search. Illustrate how much it improves the quality of their work. Show students your own blog with properly cited sources or another scholarly blog. Have them compare it with blog that does not properly attribute sources. Practice what you preach and use image citations in your lectures, Power Points, etc. Make citing sources, even images, a part of the students’ routine. Incorporate rigid citation requirements in your project rubrics.
Learning how to effectively use search engines and cite online sources should be a large part of teachers’ efforts to incorporate media literacy in their content areas. Many teachers already do things like cite sources on their lecture slideshows, which means incorporating media literacy is simply a matter of emphasis. Explicitly pointing out citations and showing students how to cite and where to get the information to put in their citations is critical, especially in a world that is saturated with technology.
Speaking of citations…
Creative Commons License. In Wikipedia. Retrieved on February 3, 2013 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons_license.
Derivative Work. In Wikipedia. Retrieved on February 3, 2013 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_work.
Minatofreak. 2011, January 8. Lady GaGa Cat. [photo] Retrieved from http://minatofreak.deviantart.com/art/Lady-GaGa-Cat-192644650.
Public Domain. In Wikipedia. Retrieved on February 3, 2013 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain.