One of my main duties at work is helping ensure that faculty and staff are following proper procedures when it comes to the use of copyrighted materials.
Given the ease with which people are sharing/re-mixing/stealing all manner of content these days, I believe faculty and staff are surprised when we tell them that some of the activities they are taking part in are in violation of the school’s copyright policy.
One of the most common sources of surprise involves the Google Image Search. Faculty are constantly looking for the quickest source of images for PowerPoint, to upload to Blackboard, etc. Needless to say they are often able to find the perfect image through a service that indexes over a billion web pages.
As an aside, I’m aware I might be sounding hypocritical given that I’ve just uploaded this screen shot of a Google page (with a number of copyrighted images within it, yikes!) without any formal permission but my work duties mean I have to help ensure that the college is never accused of copyright infringement (sorry Georgia State). As an individual I am more than happy to push back against restrictive interpretations of copyright law.
We are doing are best to instruct college employees about the wealth of material that can be found with Creative Commons licenses. Pushing them in this direction helps ensure respect for copyright and saves me time from having to send out a bunch of permission requests.
While I find the flickr search tool adequate most of the time, I think the less tech savvy find it lacking (few results per page, interpreting the various licenses, etc.)
ReadWriteWeb mentioned a new flickr search tool called compfight that I’m very impressed with. The most obvious feature is the large number of image previews it brings up when you do a search.
There are number of other features that make it so useful. By clicking the text with blue font on the main screen you can:
- Choose to search for pictures with Creative Commons licenses and for ones with specific types of licenses (commercial use, etc.)
- By clicking the black button by the search box you can search the text supplied alongside the image or just search the specific tags applied to it.
Of course searches on a user-generated site has its limitations. If a teacher is looking for an image that shows the nervous system of a crayfish (do they even have one?) chances are it won’t be found in flickr. But many times they want fairly generic images and the more tools like compfight make searching for copyright flexible material the easier it will be to get school employees to buy-in when it comes to respect for copyright.
And I can have more time to read my RSS feeds.