Understanding copyright and fair use can help you avoid two things that are highly detrimental to publishing: costly litigation and self-censorship.

When you are considering using someone else's work, here are some questions to help you with next steps.

  • Do you need permission? Is this work protected under copyright, or is it in the public domain?
  • If the work is copyrighted, ask: Who owns this work? How are you going to get permission to use it?
  • What rights do you need to have to use the work?
  • Does it have some protection from Creative Commons?
  • Does the original creator require attribution?

Taken from Copyright Law and Fair Use for Journalists, a self-directed course by Catherine Cameron and Ellyn Angelotti Kamke at Poynter NewsU.

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