Research has proven time and again that incorporating imagery is beneficial for learning. Because of that, and the ease with which we can access a vast array of creative work, presentations often show up on screen with pictures and graphics.
So, we agree? Presenting with visuals is good?
Good. End of blog.
Wait, what’s this now? You freely use whatever images you find online? They’re in the public domain and no one will ever know if you use them, you say, so what’s the big deal?
Lawyers, photographers, graphic designers, and other subject matter experts inform that you may be delving into the world of copyright infringement. And that’s kind of a big deal.
Let’s be honest. You cannot simply search Google for images and haphazardly copy them into your presentation slide deck. Well, technically, you can, but you shouldn’t. It’s illegal.
Whaaa…aaa…aat?! Copyright infringement is against the law?
Open Google, and search for something. Pick a subject. Lighthouses, for example; it doesn’t matter. Google will show you a host of images (and videos and other categories of content) matching your search criteria. If you click on any one image, below each is a notation stating, ‘Images may be subject to copyright.’ Google puts this disclaimer on every single image, and perhaps because of the wording (image may be subject to copyright rather than is subject) or because it’s just so darn easy to download or copy an image from the internet, some choose to ignore the warning.
Google, like any other search engine, is not a lawyer – but they are cautioning about potential infringement because it’s wrong and there are consequences. Not only could you be subject to financial costs from statutory damages, legal fees and other potential bank-account-sucking-penalties, but we have this thing called integrity. Wouldn’t you agree that creators own their intellectual property, and unauthorized use is, in fact, theft? And wouldn't you agree, there is a moral element to this?
So, how do you respect copyright, save time, and incorporate compelling (and free) images into your presentations?
Simply put, if you need (free) images for your next presentation, be mindful of copyright. Stay above board. Give credit where credit is due. Or create your own.
- Tisha Parker Kemp