Not To Be Trusted With Knives

I’m interested in copyright. There, I said it. I’ve been doing my best to learn the ins and outs of copyright and I’m striving to not infringe on anyone’s copyright here on ye old blog. I thought I’d post some info on copyright here (mostly so I have an easy place to double check on info that I’ve already found when I forget the details). All this being said, I’m not a lawyer – so if you are (or even if you aren’t) and I have any info wrong on here, please let me know!

Good places to get stuff that I can freely use on my blog:

  1. Creative Commons– Flickr, for example, lets you search for images with Creative Commons licenses. Each photo has a link to its specific C.C. license, telling you what you may and may not do with the image (e.g., some allow you to alter the image, or use it for commercial purposes, etc.) Flickr isn’t the only place that uses Creative Commons licenses, but it is a really easy place to get images that have them.
  2. Stuff on the Government of Canada website seems to be available for Canadians to use for personal and public non-commercial use, as per this page:

    Information on this site has been posted with the intent that it be readily available for personal and public non-commercial use and may be reproduced, in part or in whole and by any means, without charge or further permission from the Government of Canada. We ask only that:

    • Users exercise due diligence in ensuring the accuracy of the materials reproduced;
    • The Government of Canada be identified as the source; and,
    • The reproduction is not represented as an official version of the materials reproduced, nor as having been made, in affiliation with or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada.
  3. Copyleft is a form of licensing where you basically use copyright laws to state, for example, that people are free to use and adapt your software/document/image/whatever, but they have to include a copyleft license with the product.
  4. Public domain – you can use things in the public domain freely. Many items on US government websites, for example, are in the public domain, as are many images in Wikipedia. Things that are really old tend to be in the public domain as well (as copyright can expire a certain number of years after the creator has died – how many years depends on what country you live in)

Now, if you want to get really geeky, here’s a link to the Copyright Act in Canada. I’ve actually read some of it and, by doing so, discovered that I’m allowed to use copyrighted images in my lectures when I’m teaching (you have to be an instructor working for an educational institution on educational institutional premises and projecting the image on an overhead screen).  Nifty!


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