A Short Guide to Finding and Using Media on Your Blog – Part 3

In part one of this series I shared some resources for creating a gallery of media to use in your classroom blog. In part two I shared some places where you can find public domain media to use in your blog posts. In this third and final post in the series we’ll take a look at Creative Commons and Fair Use of media in blog posts.

Creative Commons Works
Creative Commons is a voluntary licensing system that photographers, videographers, writers, and musicians can use to give permission to re-use their works under certain conditions. There are six different Creative Commons licenses. The least restrictive of which allows you to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon another person’s work, even commercially, as long as you credit that person for their original creation. The most restrictive Creative Commons license allows you only to download a person’s work and share it with others as long as you credit the original creator, but you cannot change them in any way or use them commercially. You can find the list of Creative Commons licenses at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/

Places to Find Creative Commons media:

CreativeCommons.org offers a search page that links to thirteen sources of Creative Commons licensed media. Those sources are Flickr, YouTube, Google Images, Google, Jamendo, Open Clip Art Library, Fotopedia, SpinXpress, Pixabay, SoundCloud, Europeana, ccMixter, and Wikimedia Commons.

The Free Music Archive provides free, high-quality, music in a wide range of genres. The content on Free Music Archive is used under various creative commons licenses. The New York State Music Fund provided initial funding for FMA. FMA seeks to maintain a high-quality resource through the use of selected curators who approve or deny all submissions to the collection. Anyone can download music from FMA for use in podcasts, videos, and other digital presentation formats. The music collections can be searched by genre or by curator.

Morgue File provides free photos with license to remix. The Morgue File photo collection contains thousands of images that anyone can use for free in academic or commercial presentations. The image collection can be searched by subject category, image size, color, or rating. Morgue File is more than just a source for free images. The Morgue File also features a “classroom” where visitors can learn photography techniques and get tips about image editing.

Wylio is an image search engine designed to help bloggers and others quickly find, cite, and use Creative Commons licensed images. Wylio results only return images that are listed with a Creative Commons license. Wylio makes it easy to give proper attribution to the creator of the image by providing you with html code that includes attribution. All you have to do is copy the code and paste it into your blog post or webpage.

The Vimeo Music Store offers more than 45,000 music tracks. Not all of the tracks are free or Creative Commons licensed, but roughly one-third or more of them are. In the Vimeo Music Store you can search for music by genre, license type, price, and length.

Fair Use
The U.S. Copyright Office sets out four factors for determining fair use of copyrighted works. Those four factors are:

  • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.
  • The nature of the copyrighted work.
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work.

In my experience in working with teachers and students all over the U.S. the most misunderstood of these four points is the last. Everyone understands that you cannot sell someone else’s works, but they don’t understand that making copies of a work whether physical or digital can devalue the original work.

There are many myths about Fair Use that state there is a percentage of a work that can be copied without permission under the rules of Fair Use. Unfortunately, all of those myths are just that, myths. The U.S. Copyright office states, The distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission (http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html).


Thank You Readers for 14 Amazing Years!