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?
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?
A Texas student whose high school insisted on claiming ownership of photos he took for use in student media publications dismissed his lawsuit against school officials this week after the school district backed down and acknowledged his ownership.
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.
Links to sites that offer downloadable images and music licensed for reuse
Students and administrators frequently misunderstand copyright law and how it relates to student work, often leading to conflicts in schools.
"The Student Press Law Center was there when I needed help and guidance. I really had no where else to go, and no one else to seek help from."