Technology & Learning, May 1999, p. 40

Many Internet users in schools are unclear on how copyright issues apply to resources available on the web. Users need to be aware of and adhere to the same copyright restrictions online that apply elsewhere.

Images from a Web site may only legally be copied with the owner’s permission. Beware of sites that label themselves copyright free, because it is possible that they have actually illegally duplicated the images themselves. A work is only available for public use once the copyright expires and it becomes “public domain.”

It is unclear to what extent copyrighted works can be employed for non-profit educational purposes under the “fair use” principle of copyright law. Fair use allows portions of copyrighted works to be used for educational, research, news, or commentary purposes.

However, what constitutes fair use is not always clear, and it is particularly murky when it comes to the Internet and electronic works, because there is no accepted legal definition in these areas. Your best bet when dealing with images on the Web and copyright law is only to use images when the owner has expressly stated that you have his/her permission.