As an academic librarian, I often incorporate digital images in my presentations and handouts for students. I have wondered about the legal ramifications of using images from the web, so I was excited to attend the program “Copyright and Digital Images: If it’s on the Web I Can Use It, Right?”
The presenters provided practical information, and the program was thorough. Coordinator Alicia Brillon quickly dispelled the notion that copyright law does not apply to most images on the web.
Russ Tarleton’s presentation was a comprehensive overview of copyright law as it applies to digital images. He also gave practical tips on how to assess risks when using digital images, and ways to minimize those risks.
Hayley Talbert also discussed how librarians can minimize risk when using digital images. Her presentation included an example of librarians using Flickr, and gave helpful hints about what to do when a photographer or owner of an image contacts you about using their image. Her presentation was especially helpful as Ms. Talbert demonstrated how to search for images using Flickr with various degrees of copyright protection.
Phyllis Marion shared an interesting anecdote about her experience as the agent designated to receive infringement complaints at an academic law library. Ms. Marion’s presentation offered a cautionary tale, and a roadmap for what to do when presented with a takedown notice. Her presentation illustrated some of the pitfalls in using images for common work-related activities such as invitations to office parties.
Sarah Glassmeyer offered advice on how not to be a cautionary tale. She discussed using images in presentations for a non-profit. Her talk was informative, and one of the best tips she offered was to simply ask the holder of a copyrighted image if you may use it.
Finally, Emily Lawson discussed the topic of copyrighted images and website design. She gave great tips such as using your own images, recognizing that not all government images are free from copyright, and the importance of proper attribution.
The presenters kept the audience engaged with live polling questions. Audience members texted in their votes in response to Powerpoint polling questions, and the results of the first forty participants were displayed throughout the presentation.
The session was mainly concerned with risk management as it applied to using digital images for library marketing materials, internal invitations, or online classes offered via a membership subscription. I would have appreciated a brief rundown of the fair use exception for copyrighted images used for an educational purpose. However, the session was thought-provoking and informative. I highly recommend this program as it contains practical advice about using digital images that would be helpful for any law librarian.