We keep coming back to Copyright issues because they are so important to the integrity of our marketplace but also because many people look at them as a gray area and don’t really understand what they can and can’t do. While there may be hundreds of legal details involving the use of copyrighted materials, the basic principles of the U.S. and international copyright laws are pretty simple — if it is an “original work of authorship,” you may not use it without the permission of its creator. And just to be safe, always ask.
Copyright laws state that any “original work of authorship” is protected
from the moment of its creation. It is very important to understand that
such a work need not be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office to
enjoy copyright protection. Infringements can result in severe penalties
as well a significant legal expenses which is no fun for anyone but the lawyers.
The U.S. Copyright Law is simply the governments best attempt to provide
creative people with the legal clout to benefit financially from their
creations. It is not, as some seem to think, a roadblock to the
dissemination of information. In truth, lawmakers have bent over
backwards to make sure information is widely disseminated. A “fact” is
On the Cutcaster website there will be information about creators and any restrictions that may be associated with a particular video or photo.
Students and others interested in using photographs without charge can
find many usable stock photos by going to any internet search engine such as
Google or Yahoo and typing in “free photography” of “free stock photography.” If you need help let us know.