Student projects and presentations often include digital images, sound, and video. While some students create their own media, others search for digital content online. The challenge is determining whether the multimedia they find has copyright restrictions.
Creative Commons is an organization that makes it easy for content owners to share their content with others. Creative Commons lets content owners choose from a variety of copyright licenses that specify exactly how their multimedia can be used. Users agree to the terms of that license. Creative Commons emphasizes the conscious choices made by authors and owners of digital content to share rather than limit access to their work.
From the Creative Commons website:
"The Creative Commons copyright licenses and tools forge a balance inside the traditional "all rights reserved" setting that copyright law creates. Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. The combination of our tools and our users is a vast and growing digital commons, a pool of content that can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon, all within the boundaries of copyright law."
Students may not realize that as content creators they can choose to share their work. When uploading an image to Flickr, the default copyright license is "all rights reserved." To share that image, choose a Creative Commons license that permits sharing. You can also use the Creative Commons license chooser to help determine which license is most appropriate for a given work.
Due to the dynamic nature of online content, no web portal, search engine, or other online resource can identify Creative Commons-licensed content with 100 percent accuracy. Therefore, you will need to verify that the content you have found is licensed for sharing. If you have any doubt about permissions, you should contact the copyright holder directly.