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Having moved past the surprise of discovering that even archived webinars offer unexpected and amazing levels of interactivity, we find plenty of wonderful content which Mary Minow continues to provide in the recording of her Infopeople “Finding (Legally Safe) Graphics for Presentations and Websites” webinar.
Trainer-teacher-learners and others intrigued by PowerPoint presentations which rely on a dynamic mix of imagery and text rather than on text-based bullet point formats will surely consider Minow’s presentation an early holiday gift. She guides us through the process of determining what we should and should not do in obtaining images from the Internet; lists several sites which offer incredible amounts of material just waiting to be used (please see the “Webliography of Legal Graphics” handout linked from the middle of the archives webinar page); and even offers a variety of useful and easy-to-follow suggestions on how to provide attributions for the images we use. And an unexpected benefit of watching this archived version is that, by using the “archive navigation” section on the right-hand side of the screen while viewing the webinar, we can jump from one section of the recording to another if there is something we want to skip or review.
Minow leaps right into the center of her presentation by offering tips about the use of images produced by government agencies. The news here is mostly good: if an image is produced by the U.S. government and posted on a U.S. government site, it’s probably available for use without copyright restrictions. Minow, at the same time, warns that we can’t be too careful and that we should check to be sure that what we’re viewing is an actual U.S. government site as opposed to a quasi-government agency which may retain control over the use of the images posted on its site.
In offering other potential sources of imagery for those preparing non-commercial presentations, she calls our attention to what is offered by sources including Library of Congress, New York Public Library Picture Collection Online, and Wikimedia Commons images. She briefly and in mercifully plain English reviews the topic of Creative Commons licenses governing the use of large numbers of online imagery. She then provides samples of how we can provide appropriate attributions for those images which we are using, and leaves us with a wonderful resource to peruse: the Nolo publication The Public Domain: How to Find & Use Copyright-Free Writings, Music, Art & More.
As we near the end of the archived webinar, we are left with at least a few great reminders which bear repeating: check carefully for the source of images before assuming that they actually available for use without restrictions; check for and follow any requests and instructions provided by those who have created and posted images before we use them in another context; and never underestimate the ease with which permission to use an image can be obtained—sometimes a simple email to the creator of an image provides all we need to safely and legally proceed.

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Comments

Comment: 
Great post, Paul! To add - folks should be wary about using images off state government sites as well. Images created by the U.S. government (and not quasi agencies as you said) are in the public domain by law. 17 U.S.C. Sect. 105. I go to google images and limit to site:.gov and search for, say "stoplight" and get images. I look to see if there's a credit (e.g. AP photo) which means it's not created by the U.S. govt. If not, then YAY - a fairly reasonable determination that it's created by the U.S. govt and free to use without any strings attached.

Comment: 
Thanks for the additional comments, Mary. Certainly helps all of us who are constantly searching for images to make our presentations more lively.

Comment: 
There was a good question during the webinar about quasi-government site (Potato Coucil, specifically). If you go to the USPS website (a quasi-government site) try finding any rules or guidelines on their website - if they're there, they are very hard to find. Good example of the "be wary" guideline.

Comment: 
Thanks for checking USPS. I checked the Potato Council, and they are actually a trade industry group, which would hold copyright to anything it creates. It is a fun site - http://www.npcspud.com/

Comment: 
Thanks for the reminder about the Potato Council discussion, Eileen. That really clarified the situation around government vs. quasi-government agency sites. Your comment also points out that while a blog posting and exchange like this makes others aware of content like Mary's, there's no substitute for the original source.

Comment: 
There was a good question during the webinar about quasi-government site (Potato Coucil, specifically). If you go to the USPS website (a quasi-government site) try finding any rules or guidelines on their website - if they're there, they are very hard to find. Good example of the "be wary" guideline.