Many image services such as Flickr, Photobucket, Imageshack, Twitpic, host Creative Commons-licensed images. These sites may also contain images that could potentially be in breach of copyright.

One example is a photograph of an an artwork, which is a copyrighted work, such as an image of a painting from an art exhibition or an object from a museum. Even though a photographer has licensed their photographs under Creative Commons, you must ensure they do not infringe copyright of the creator of the work captured in the photograph before you use the image. If in doubt, contact the photographer to find out if they have obtained permission to photograph the artistic work.

Using images

Using images in presentations

The Copyright Act (1968) allows students and researchers to show or present images in a class to a closed or limited audience. A limited or closed audience would be defined as other student’s or class members, presentation as part of examination/assessment, and Graduate Research Commitee presentations.

This provision does not allow copyright works used in presentations to be recorded, copied, placed online, or shown as part of public activity.

Adapting, changing or modifying an image by 10%

There is no 10% adaption rule for images, text or audio visual copyright works. The only instance where permission would not be required is where a new work based on the concepts of the first work is substantially different. Substantially is measured in quality, not quantity.

The moral right of integrity is an important consideration. If you modify an existing work to a point where a copyright holder feels the modification has affected the integrity of their work, damaging their reputation and honour, they can bring an infringement accusation against you under the right of integrity.

Creating mashups and collages

Mashups or collage creations incorporating copyrighted images need to be assessed against ownership rights and copyright exceptions, such as fair dealing – research and study.  You can create mashups or collages under the fair dealing provision - research and study, but only while you are studying.

To use copyrighted work in a mashup or collage outside of research and study, you must ask the copyright holder for permission. If you create a collage or mashup from a substantial part of an existing work, you may be in breach of copyright.

The safest option is to create mashups and collages from works where copyright has expired, from Creative Commons-licensed works or open resources. See the 'Free stuff' lists in our Copyright guide for suggestions.

Online, MyRMIT, blogs, wikis

The fair dealing provisions allow the use of copyright works at RMIT for assessment tasks such as blogs, wikis and e-portfolios hosted behind authentication [a password is required for access eg: myRMIT].

The fair dealing provisions do not apply to public sites such as, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. The fair dealing provisions are closed provisions and only available whilst undertaking a course of study, or research.

Copyright works used online within RMIT such as blogs, wikis and e-Portfolio’s can only remain online whilst enrolled if you are no longer enrolled in the course the works must be removed. Therefore, the responsibility for managing the use either falls with you the student whereby you must remove all copyright works uploaded, or alternatively the staff member assumes the responsibility and undertakes to remove all of the copyright works on your behalf.

Image sources

Google Images

Google displays both free and copyright images it found on websites. Before using an image you've found using Google, check the copyright statement or terms and conditions of the website to find out if there are any restrictions on the use of that image. The safest option is to search Google for images that you can use freely, such as Creative Commons images.

How to search for creative commons images using Google

Social media, YouTube, Flickr, Yammer, Facebook, blogs and wikis

Externally hosted public sites, such as Flickr, Twitter, Yammer, or blogs and wikis contain terms of use that you are required to agree to in order to set up an account. Read carefully the terms and conditions on the site. Once you accept the terms of use, you are bound by these conditions.

You can use Creative Commons, or free images on social networking sites. You should not use Creative Commons non-commercial licensed images. Obtaining revenue from advertising would be considered a commercial undertaking.

Find Creative Commons images

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