Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: Can we (student media staff) create an online directory of alumni that includes their photos and graduation dates? A: You can certainly create a directory that includes the names and graduation dates of former students. No special… Continue reading Can we create an online directory of alumni that includes their photos and graduation dates?
Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.” Q: Are fonts subject to copyright protection? A: Yes. Fonts — which are basically computer programs or software that tell your printer or computer screen how to create the shape of a letter or character — meet all… Continue reading Are fonts subject to copyright protection?
This presentation begins with a brief introduction of the history and goals behind copyright. It then explores some of the basics of copyright, including questions about copyright eligibility, copyright duration, registration, obtaining copyright permissions and its distinction from other intellectual property rights (patent, trademark) and plagiarism. Finally, considerable time is spent discussing copyright law's Fair… Continue reading Copyright Law Presentation
Q: Can we post photos we take for the yearbook or newspaper on a social media page? A: If they are staff-generated photos and not photos taken by a private contractor, yes. A private photo studio will have contractual limits on how its photos can be used, and typically (without a substantial extra charge) they are licensed… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Can we use yearbook photos on social media?
Q: Our college TV station recently covered auditions for our college's dance team. The student editor was unaware that the song playing in the background of the video was copyrighted when she created the video. The piece is edited with several cuts and you don’t ever hear a full song played. Can we air the… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Can we use a video clip that had a copyrighted song playing in the background?
Q: Can we use unpublished photos on our news site or in our yearbook or reprint photos that were taken by a student who has since graduated? A: Unless there was a specific agreement between the former staff members and the publication stating otherwise, the former students retain the copyright to any work they created… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Can we use unpublished photos from a student who graduated?
Q. We want to use soap opera titles, such as "Days of our Lives," to head our yearbook sections. Any problems? A. This question has many popular variants. For example, can we use book titles (Dr. Seuss's "Oh, the Places You'll Go" is a perennial favorite) as our yearbook theme? Can we use movie titles… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Can we use the title of a show as a headline or yearbook theme?
Q. Can I use copyrighted material (online or otherwise) as long as I properly credit the source? A. Simply giving credit (for example, "Photo courtesy of The New York Times") usually isn't enough. Unless you can make a fair use argument or unless you're certain that material is not protected by copyright (for example, works… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Can I use copyrighted material as long as I credit the source?
Q: We're reviewing a new movie (or a new song, video game, TV show, book, etc.). Can we use an image we found online as an illustration? A: Yes, but you have to be selective. As a general rule, most of material that you find online — whether it's a photo, a story, music, etc. — is… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Can we use an image found online to illustrate a movie review?
Q: Can we take pictures of celebrities from the internet and Photoshop students into them without violating copyright law? A: Probably not, unless you have a license from the photographer to alter the image, or if the image is in the public domain. Using Photoshop (or any other program) to change an image does not excuse… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Can I use a photo I pulled from Google if I Photoshop it?