If your child goes to school, you probably know such a situation: a paper needs to be prepared. And this should best be accompanied by many photos. So it’s on to Internet research. The image search spits out many suitable photos on the topic. But am I allowed to use them just like that?
A lot is possible on the net, but not everything that is possible is allowed. The topic of copyright, i.e. that the person who created a work – e.g. a picture – also has the right to decide how it is used, is much discussed right now because content spreads quickly on the Internet and the creator does not always have influence over it. This primarily involves publishing, i.e. redistributing, third-party content.
When giving a presentation for school, photos and texts are first shared by others “only” in a non-public space. It is therefore not absolutely necessary to ask the creator of a photo whether you may use it for your paper. However, it is important to the teacher that you give the source where the photo comes from.
Maybe you have taken photos yourself that you would like to show as part of the unit. If a person is pictured on them, they must be asked beforehand, because they have a right to decide whether they are photographed and whether the photo is shown around.
If the paper is so good that it ends up as an article on the online school newspaper, you can’t just publish the photos used for it – even if they have a source credit. This is where copyright law comes into play.
Among the many images on a topic that can be found on the Internet, however, there are certainly also those that may be used freely because they are under a so-called “free license”. The best known are the Creative Commons (CC) licenses. There are photographers who publish their photos with the information that they may be redistributed under certain conditions. These conditions can be that you have to include the name of the photographer and that you are not allowed to edit the image. You can find out which different licenses are available on the website of the Creative Commons project.
Especially people who do not want or need to earn money with their photos use such free licenses and are happy to make their images available to others. This is also a great thing for us users.
If you want to publish photos or other content under a CC license yourself, you can decide which conditions should be attached to it.
There are various sites where you can find content that is approved for use and further publication. Very well known are, for example, Flickr and Wikipedia. But also at Google you can influence the search with the help of filter settings so that only images under free license are displayed. However, you should always look carefully at the information for each individual image to be sure that you are allowed to use it and under what conditions.
By the way, there are not only photos and graphics under free license, but also music or sounds. An overview with websites can be found here.
Even if it is not absolutely necessary for a presentation in school to use images that are available under a free license, you should do so to be sure that such content is not distributed. It also teaches your child about copyrights and how to research on the Internet.