Whether you are a Div I, Div III, or faculty member, it can be easy to rely on the fair use doctrine. However, if you think you might ever publish your work in any venue, it is important to understand copyright and learn how to use sources wisely so that you can publish freely. This often feels surprisingly restrictive, since information and images are so easy to find and use!
Complying with copyright means asking for permission to use images or videos created by others, and citing sources whenever you incorporate outside sources into your writing. While many of these nuances don't matter too much for educational purposes, the minute you are using sources in a non-educational context, and even in certain educational contexts, you could start to run into problems if you get too used to claiming "Fair Use" for everything you do.
You also need to think about your own rights as an author, and whether you wish to share your work for free. While your work is technically covered by copyright the moment it is "fixed" in a tangible form, you can protect yourself by adding a copyright symbol to your work. You can also designate your work with one of many "Creative Commons" licenses, which encourages others to share, use, and/or remix your work at various levels of openness.
Do you have a general idea about what copyright means, but maybe aren't sure how it applies to you as a student, or how it will matter in your life after college?
Did you know that you have quite a bit of freedom to use information (such as texts, images, or videos) for educational purposes, under a doctrine known as "Fair Use"?
Are you interested in finding public domain materials that you can use for any reason (educational or otherwise) without a problem? Watch the video below to get started, and keep reading for more information and links!