Ask SPLC: Can we use yearbook photos on social media?

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?

Ask SPLC: Can we use a video clip that had a copyrighted song playing in the background?

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?

Ask SPLC: Can we use unpublished photos from a student who graduated?

Q: Can we use unpublished photos on our news site or in our yearbook or reprint photos that were taken by a student who has since graduated?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otherwise, the former students retain the copyright to any work they created… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Can we use unpublished photos from a student who graduated?

Ask SPLC: Can we use the title of a show as a headline or yearbook theme?

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?

Ask SPLC: Can I use copyrighted material as long as I credit the source?

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?

Ask SPLC: Can we use an image found online to illustrate a movie review?

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?

Ask SPLC: Can I use a photo I pulled from Google if I Photoshop it?

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?

Ask SPLC: Can I use a popular song for a video?

Q:We are putting together a highlight reel of our football team's season that we'll show on our school's cable student TV station. Can we use Queen's song "We Will Rock You" as background music? A: Unfortunately no.  The general rule is that if you've not created a copyrighted work yourself you must either obtain prior explicit… Continue reading Ask SPLC: Can I use a popular song for a video?

After three years, Anthony Mazur wins ownership of his photos and his former high school has promised to stop making students sign over their copyright

In 2015, Mazur, then a student at Flower Mound (Texas) High School, was ordered by his school administration to take down a Flickr page where he was selling school sports photos to parents. Months later, the school required all members of the yearbook class to sign an agreement that the district owns the copyright to any work they produce.