But despite common practice, the fact that an image or a sound is available to us doesn’t really give us the right to copy it and use it indiscriminately. Most Web images are copyrighted and licensed. Broadcast of those images or sounds on the Web, on a network, on cable television, or in a virtual learning environment–like online courses transmitted over such courseware platforms Blackboard or Moodle–generally requires the permission of the creator or owner. The rule is–when in doubt, ask. But it is not always easy to ask, or to contact, or even to identify the creator or owner of an image or a sound or a video.
This stuff is darn confusing to a student who wants to create and communicate. We can make it easier for her. We can create pathfinders to lead our students to more generously licensed content.
New copyright-friendly archives recognize and respond to educational needs while they remove many of the legal and ethical thorns. Creative Commons is a license that allows creators to maintain a copyright while allowing users the right to reuse, reproduce, and change software or files. If you are a little in the dark on all this, view the cool videos on the Creative Commons site. In the spirit of the open source movement, a growing number of portals encourage the sharing of photographs, clipart, and other illustrations.
Copyright-friendly media archives actually come in a variety of flavors. Some are government archives offering liberal use. Some offer older media in the public domain. Some are collections of material posted by their creators with the definite purpose of sharing their work or seeing it grow and mix.
With school about to start and teachers already eagerly warning me about upcoming media projects, I decided to ease the confusion (my own included) but updated my Copyright-friendly Pathfinder. And, as I promised in an earlier post, I migrated it to wiki format. But it is very clearly a work in progress.
Friends, this could be our very first uberwikipathfinder. Please join and help me build and better describe these nifty resources for students and teachers.
Some of my personal favorites from the pathfinder:
- Flickr’s Creative Commons Pool: Browse through the images provided by Flickr users who have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license
- openphoto: Free stock images. Use categories on the right to browse or click on search in the top bar
- US Government Photos and Multimedia Most materials in the public domain, but read the disclaimers.
- Wikimedia Commons: a database of 1,815,754 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute.
- Common Content:
- Creative Commons Search Flickr, Yahoo!, Google, OWL Music Search, SpinXpress, and BlipTV to "find Creative Commons-licensed media that you can legally share and reuse for free"
- Yotophoto: indexes over a quarter million Creative Commons, Public Domain, GNU FDL, and other copyleft images
- Pics4Learning Copyright friendly images for education
- MorgueFile "provides the public and creative community with free raw photo materials"
And for music:
- Shambles: Sound Effects and Music Comprehensive portal collection by Chris Smith
- Educational CyberPlayGround: Get Music Downloads Links to portals and useful guidance
- Open Source Audio from the Internet Archive
- Incompetech Royalty Free Music
- Opsound Copyright friendly sound "Listeners are invited to download, share, remix, and reimagine."
- Partners in Rhyme: Free Sound Effects
- Partners in Rhyme: Free Music Loops
- Soundzabound Music Library
Note: always check individual licensing notices before publishing on the Web or broadcasting!