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It is so easy to find images on the internet.  Often we assume that since we can find the images, we can use them however we want.  Or we think that because we are educators and students we can use copyright materials because we do not profit from them.  Copyright law is very confusing and is argued in the courts all the time.  So what basic rules can we follow?  How can we model this in the classroom? What are the consequences of plagiarism or copyright violation?
  • Finding images on the internet does not mean they are labeled for re-use.  In fact, the opposite is true. Images are automatically protected under copyright law unless otherwise stated.
  • Educators and students may use material that has copyright protection when:
    • it is for instruction (not decoration).
    • it is to be used for one time.
    • 10% or less of the materials is used.
    • there is not a purchase option.
  • We can avoid copyright issues by using creative commons licensed materials appropriately.


Adapted with permission from Nick Paff's Finding Images and Clipart site.