22 October 2013

Legal use of information

It is important for people to respect the law concerning intellectual property, particularly if you are librarians or information managers! There is international agreement about copyright and related laws, and the World Intellectual Property Organization http://www.wipo.int/portal/index.html.en is the organisation that aims to develop an international system that is fair to both creators and users of intellectual property.

They define intellectual property as:
"creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce." (WIPO, 2012) They identify two types of intellectual property: Industrial property (e.g. patents, trademarks) and copyright (e.g. literary and artistic works, which includes digital works). This also includes the rights that performers have in their performances (dance, theatre etc.)

Some principles are agreed internationally, and there is harmonisation, for example, within countries of the European Union (although even then there are some details of difference between EU countries). Sheffield University Library has a copyright guide http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/library/services/copymuch

The base line is that is generally illegal to copy things unless
- EITHER it specifically allowed by law (e.g. acknowledged quotations of up to a certain length are allowed for academic purposes or in reviews: "acknowledged" means there are quote marks and the source is clearly stated)
- OR the rights owner (author/creator) has said that it can be used. Creative Commons licenses http://creativecommons.org/ have made it much easier for an author of a digital work (article, video, photograph etc.) to say how their work can be used. There are a series of licences that you can use, ranging from "anyone can do anything with my work" to (for example) saying that people can use them privately, but must not publish them publicly or use them commercially. This is one of the presentations on the CC site on Sharing Creative Works: http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Sharing_Creative_Works

"Derivative" works are works that change the original in some way (e.g. if you cropped a picture, or photoshopped it). Some people do not want their work altered, and since it is their intellectual property, they have the right to say you mustn't.

When you search Flickr you can specify you want to be able legally to reuse the image. Scroll down to the bottom of this advanced search page http://www.flickr.com/search/advanced/?
and you will see that you can "Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content". They explain it clearly here: http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/
You will usually have to say who the creator of the photo is, and link back to the original photo on Flickr. Once you have found the picture you want you can copy the html code from Flickr to embed it in your blog. I did a 5 minute video showing you how to find an image you are allowed to use on Flickr and then embed it in a blog post:

Another way to generate the html code including a link to the author is to use this application: http://www.imagecodr.org/get.php

In the advanced search option on Google Images you can specify the usage rights, e.g. only search for images that can be re-used.

If you can't find what you want, then Phil Bradley has a list of search engines that search images and video: http://www.philb.com/mediaengines.htm (but some of them might consist mainly or entirely of images that you cannot legally reuse).

Music and more
This page actually offers search for images etc. as well as several music searches http://search.creativecommons.org/

I did a 5 minute video showing you how to find an image you are allowed to use on Jamendo, via asearch on ccsearch, and then embed it in your blog:

Your task is to make sure that you are not copying text, videos or images illegally, on your blog and on your poster! (or indeed anywhere else)

- World Intellectual Property Organization. (2012) What is intellectual property? Retrieved 21 October 2012 from http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/
- Creative Commons logo used with permission; see http://creativecommons.org/about/downloads under an Attribution license


  1. So, what sort of deal University of Sheffield has with Google (and Youtube), is it allowed for UoS and its students to use Youtube material for non-personal use, e.g. in classes and with course works?
    Terms of Use, 5.1.L : "you agree not to access Content or any reason other than your personal, non-commercial use solely as intended through and permitted by the normal functionality of the Service, and solely for Streaming."

    In my country the current copyright law and Youtube's terms of service has been interpreted so, that no school or University can use Youtube for educational purposes unless explicit permission. This has caused huge debate on the copyright law, and just few months ago a citizens' initiative petition was handed to our parliament in order to review and change the current law.

  2. Sheila, you might find this also interesting, backgrounds to the initiative. http://www.arcticstartup.com/2013/04/22/finnish-sites-blacking-out-tomorrow-in-support-of-copyright-petition