Copyright Rules and Resources
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Copyright Protection Overview
Remember that copyright law protects:
- Newspaper articles
- Blog posts
- Recorded music
Rules to Live By
- Assume it’s protected by copyright
- Read the terms and conditions in any “Click to Accept” agreements
- When in doubt, seek permission
How to post a copyrighted article
- Just citing the author/creator does not allow use of material
- “Fair use” for informational purposes allows a short excerpt – not all or most
- For articles from copyrighted outlets, quote no more than a couple sentences, then link to the article – or write a short summary of the article, then link to it
Use of Cornell Publications
- Original articles by the Cornell Chronicle, Ezra Magazine and Pawprint are considered “press releases” and are not treated the same as copyrighted material.
- This means you can post them in their entirety with attribution – both the author’s by-line and at the end “Read the story in the Cornell Chronicle (link to original article)."
- Note that the Cornell Daily Sun and the Cornell Alumni Magazine are not Cornell University publications and their articles should be treated like any other copyrighted material.
Use of A&S articles
- Original articles posted on the College of Arts & Sciences are also considered “press releases” and are not treated as copyrighted.
- This means you can post them in their entirety. As a courtesy, it is best to include the author’s by-line and the original source.
When sourcing images for department/program websites, newsletters, promotional materials and social media accounts, it's important to be aware of copyright issues. One option is to hire a photographer to take images, or to pay for the rights to use stock photos through services like IStockPhoto, ShutterStock, etc. If you have a limited budget, or are simply looking for a wider selection, the links below are great resources for royalty-free or public domain (no copyright) images.
If you didn't pay for the rights to an image and it didn't come from one of the links below, be sure to investigate license/copyright terms on a particular image (i.e., don't simply download something from a Google Images search). If you're not sure about copyright claims/license terms on a particular image, contact Scott Haber at firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources for Royalty-Free and Public Domain Images
Cornell Photo Database (Widen) - Cornell campus/faculty/student/event images (can be used on any department/program websites and social media with attribution to Cornell University Photography)
Pixabay.com - general images
Flickr Creative Commons license - general images (check explanations of different CC licenses)
Wikimedia Commons - general images (be sure to examine the terms of individual licenses)
The White House Flickr collection - political images
Library of Congress photo collection - historical American images
Resource for Royalty-Free Music
As outlined in the university's social media guidelines, the use of copyrighted material in multimedia created by colleges, departments or student groups for informational or promotional purposes generally requires appropriate permission and often the payment of fees for at least one, and typically two, separate licenses. This includes, but is not limited to, any music files used in multimedia production.
To support the production of Cornell promotional videos, the university now offers the online music database of FirstCom Music free to all current faculty, staff and students. With thousands of music tracks at your disposal, and an intuitive search function, it is easy to find the perfect tracks and sound effects to make your multimedia projects really stand out. The resources available in the FirstCom Music database are for use in Cornell promotional productions only and are not for personal use.
You can find out more and register on the Brand Center’s website.