Copyright law protects the owner of an original work against the unauthorized use of his work by others. The work of student journalists, photographers and artists — just like any other author — is protected from copyright infringement.
The most common issue for student media, however, is not so much protecting their work from use by someone else as it is determining whether they can use material produced by others in their publications or programs.
For example, is it permissible to reproduce a popular cartoon character or reprint the words of a poem in a student yearbook? Is it okay to download photos from the Internet to illustrate a story in the student newspaper? Can you run clips from a music video on a student-produced television program?
Unfortunately, the answers to such questions can be more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no.”
- Copyright-safe materials available for republication in student media -
Links to sites that offer downloadable images and music licensed for reuse
- Copyright and Fair Use FAQs -
The Student Press Law Center answers your most frequently asked questions about what is protected under copyright law.
- Student media guide to copyright law -
The basics of copyright law as it applies to student media.
- SPLC model copyright agreement -
The following sample contract and license between a student media staff member and a student media organization was drafted by the Student Press Law Center and is an attempt to fairly balance the intellectual property
- Registering your yearbook’s copyright -
These directions will help you register a yearbook using the Electronic Copyright Office (eCO).
- SPLC guide to fair use -
The basics of fair use and some fair use situations that commonly arise in the student media context.
- Avoiding plagiarism in student media -
"Plagiarist!" It is an accusation that strikes fear in the hearts of students, academics, journalists, authors and presidential candidates alike.