Finding the perfect picture to put on your website, brochure, or Facebook event can be tricky, and it gets even more difficult if you’re making sure your photos are legal to use. That’s right, legally, you can’t use any picture you find on Google Images.Using these photos opens your library up to possible lawsuits for copyright infringement. Instead, look for photos that fall into Public Domain or have a Creative Commons license.
Public Domain: The person who created this work has waived their rights to the photo. This means that you can copy, change, distribute, and perform the work for commercial purposes without asking permission.
Creative Commons Licenses: These licenses allow creators to waive and reserve certain rights in regards to their work. This may include if the image can be used for commercial purposes, if it needs creator attribution, and so on.
A guide for helpful information regarding stock photos can be found here.
The following websites are full of free and ready-to-use photos (as long as you follow the licensing restrictions) to make your library marketing a little more beautiful:
There are many questions to consider before undertaking a digitization project, such as:
What is the size and condition of the collection? What is the purpose of this project? How much will this project cost? Have the items already been digitized by someone else? What is the time frame?
Copyright is another factor that needs to be considered before starting a digital project. If fact, it is often a major factor. You do not want to be halfway through a digitization project, for example, and then discover you cannot share the scanned items due to copyright. Then all of that time and money will have been for nothing.
Just thinking about the word copyright can send cold shivers down your spine, and it may also invoke headaches and/or nightmares.
Sure, copyright can be intimidating. When it comes to digital projects, copyright is a significant concern. It can make or break a digital project, and it often determines whether a potential project is worth pursuing or not. However, being better informed about copyright can alleviate some of the burden. And in doing so, you will discover that copyright is not so frightening after all.
The best way to approach copyright is to first understand it.
What is copyright?
According to the United States Copyright Office, copyright “is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.” (Copyright in General – U.S. Copyright Office)
Copyright is a form of intellectual property law that “protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.” (Copyright in General– U.S. Copyright Office)
What is public domain?
According to the United States Copyright Office, a “work of authorship is in the ‘public domain’ if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner.” (Definitions – U.S. Copyright Office)
There are 4 common ways that works arrive in the public domain: copyright has expired, copyright owner failed to follow copyright renewal rules, copyright owner deliberately places it in the public domain, or copyright law does not protect this type of work. (Copyright & Fair Use – Stanford)
Once you have an understanding of copyright, then you can take what you have learned and apply it to your digitization project. Keep things couple things in mind:
If you have concerns or uncertainties about copyright when it comes to digitizing and digital collections, do your research. Use the resources provided here to determine the copyright status of the item(s) in question. If you have questions or need some assistance, contact Digital Initiatives.
If you’re not sure if an item is protected by copyright or not, get permission from the owner/ creator. Have them sign a permission form or a copyright release form. The Digital Initiatives team at the North Dakota State Library uses forms like this. So if you would like to see the forms or use them as an example, contact Digital Initiatives.
If the item is in the public domain, then it is no longer protected by copyright and it can be freely scanned and made accessible.
Friends of the Library help support libraries in many ways including volunteer services, fund raising, programming, and advocating for their library. The following resources are helpful whether your library is starting a Friends group, restructuring, or looking to grow.
Shootings are an unfortunate and frightening reality in today’s world. Statistically speaking, it is unlikely you will experience an active shooter situation, but that does not negate their seriousness. Planning and being informed can save lives.
There are a few simple things you can do at the office or at home to better prepare yourself.
Be informed – stay current on procedures and other relevant information
Be prepared – create a plan & participate in trainings