Skip to content

Reflection on Copyright and Fair Use

After reading the sections on copyright and fair use, I was surprised to realize all of the details that go into citing something, even the image of a cereal box. First, I find it odd that we don't learn any of this information earlier in our education, at least I never really knew about the importance of copyright laws, besides plagirization in essays, until my freshmen year of college. In a world where technology has become a major integral part of our society and work life, we have unlimited access to text, images, and graphics that are not our own. Sure, we can cite the name or author of these art forms, but in the end we could still be punished legally if we do not receive permission from the creators. In education, the fine line between what is acceptable/what is not when using various works is slightly more blurry because it depends on the purpose behind its usage and the size of the audience it will reach. How do we know, then,  when it is appropriate to utilize images and texts that aren't ours? And how do we properly cite them?

To answer the first question, it seems that it is never suitable for us to use any works that isn't ours without the owner's permission. Even though this rule is straightforward, though, I still find this area to be gray. There are so many loopholes to go through to be granted the right to use a work, and then if it is not executed properly the requester could still be sued. I originally thought that Creative Commons was a good tool since I've used it in the past when writing articles, but it seems to me that the website is more complicated than I thought due to the fact that owners have to place their work in a specific category and it may not be accessible for everyone. I also found the Fair Use section to be confusing because it has a set of "guidelines" that people should follow, but in the end it is still subjective to the person giving permission. I would also like to know the copyright laws within the publishing field because I know that authors can place lines that they used from other authors in their acknowledgments sections, but they still have to get permission to do that?