Last week I went on a bit of a rant about copyright and fair use. If you didn’t read it, the gist of it was “no, you can’t use any picture you find on the Internet and call it Fair Use because it’s school-related.” The best way to avoid accidental copyright infringement is to just use your own pictures. An additional benefit occurred to me this week when I was filing yet another DMCA takedown notice for a website that was copying all of my blog posts.
When you use your own pictures in a blog post, in a video, or in a slideshow that you post online you don’t have to worry that you’ve infringed on someone else’s copyright. Additionally, if someone then tries to improperly use your work without permission, you have an additional claim that you can make against the infringer. In the case of a blog post, I made the claim in my DMCA takedown notice that my writing was used without permission and my image was used without permission. Why that matters is because of the time it takes to file these kinds of claims. A claim for writing is takes more time than a claim for an image, especially if the image is a selfie.
I realize that many of you will never have to file a DMCA takedown notice to protect your work. But if you do, I hope this helps. And for everyone else, I hope it’s another little story that you can share with your students and colleagues when educating them about copyright and fair use.