Dear Amy: I found some images on the Web that I want to use in my school report. Is this OK, or do I need to get permission first? — Will, Charleston, S.C.
Dear Will: Anytime you create something, whether it’s a poem, a report or a photograph, it is automatically copyrighted. The same goes for websites and multimedia content online. Although the images you found are copyrighted, it’s fine to use them in your school report, since it would fall under the rules of “fair use.” However, if your teacher wanted to post your report on the class website, you would need to get permission before including the images. This is because publishing these pictures with your report on a website no longer qualifies as fair use. For more information about copyright laws, visit copyrightkids.org.
If you want to find images you can safely use and share, a good place to look is the Search page at Creative Commons, search.creativecommons.org. Authors and artists can choose to license their works through Creative Commons and grant the public permission to share and/or modify their works. Usually all you need to do to use these works is attribute them to the original author.
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