Training Videos: Check out Olivia and Jeff explain some commonly asked questions about our studio!
Student media participants:
It’s important you know you may not publish an image on a website or social media platform for any division ofVanderbilt Student Communications without first obtaining publishing permission or licensing rights from the owner of the image or ensuring “fair use” applies.
What does this mean?
When you post an article online and want to find a photo to go with it, you can’t always trust an online image search to result in images you can safely grab and upload with your article.
Works of photography, literature, art, etc. are owned by the people who create them, and if you republish them without permission, that may amount to theft.
From the U.S. Copyright Office: “Under the copyright law, the creator of the original expression in a work is its author. The author is also the owner of copyright unless there is a written agreement by which the author assigns the copyright to another person or entity, such as a publisher.”
A division of VSC recently was fined $450 for an image licensing fee. The demand for the fee came from a company representing Reuters new services, the owner of the photo’s copyright. The company, PicRights, utilizes software that scans the internet looking for copyrighted images.
The VSC division had republished the image with the (incorrect) credit “Courtesy of The New York Times,” referring to the site where the student found and copied the image. The student assumed that finding a photo online and simply placing “Courtesy of …” as the photo credit would suffice to protect them from copyright infringement.
In this case, The New York Times likely had paid Reuters a licensing fee to be able to publish the image. But neither the Times nor Reuters had given the VSC division the permission to or the courtesy of allowing it to republish the photo.
Why does it matter?
We obviously don’t want to pay additional unexpected fees, and we also want to be respectful of photographers, videographers, writers, and illustrators who—like you—work hard to produce creative and journalistic work.
How to use photos safely.
- Ask a Vanderbilt student photographer if they’d like to take a photo and allow you to publish it.
- You can take a photo. Here are some tips for smartphone photography.
- Safely reuse images found online. Check out these pointers from School Newspapers Online:
- You need to specify rules for your Google image search. From the search results page, click on “Tools” → “Usage Rights” → “Creative Commons licenses.” These filtered results are safe to reuse.
- Visit Creative Commons or Wikipedia Commons, large databases of free-to-use images.
- For articles about movies, music or TV, use promotional posters. These are free-use protected under copyright law. Better yet, websites for movies, musicians and TV shows may also include press kits — downloadable folders of images they want you to use.
- Always exercise extreme caution by writing a photo credit for each photo you’re putting on your website. No matter what, you need to ID your source. More on that here. (More on copyright law here.)
- VSC has a membership to use stock images from iStock by Getty Images with the proper publishing permissions. To learn more about this option, staff members should talk to their division heads, who can consult with VSC advisers.
Questions? Help is here.
Your VSC Advisers are here to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out:
Graphics and Design – Jeff Breaux, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial Divisions – Paige Clancy, email@example.com
Electronic Divisions – Jim Hayes, firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of VSC – Chris Carroll, email@example.com
Royalty Free Music Resources: