Website Editor Training

Understanding Copyright

If you're going to be creating content on the cooper center websites, you need to have a basic understanding of copyright law. If you ignore or skip this tutorial and upload a copyrighted image without permission or a license, you are opening the Cooper Center up to lawsuits.

If you refuse to keep reading, just promise to only post content you personally created or photos from unsplash.com.

If you are interested in learning something, please read on.

Below is the most useful explanation of copyright I've ever found. It's by Tom Scott and there is a lot to learn from the video. It's 42 minutes long and I can't force you to watch it but I implore you to do so. The video is entertaining. I promise you'll enjoy it.  

After watching the video and reading the additional sections below you should be able to answer this one key question:

What am I allowed to upload to the websites?

Video Takeaway

Don't upload any digital content to the websites that you are not certain you are allowed to use!

If you upload anything to the sites you are exposing the Cooper Center and the University of Virginia to potential lawsuits.

All public universities are lawsuit magnets!!! 

What does it mean to host content on the website?

You may be wondering how I am allowed to post that Tom Scott YouTube video on this page. You're right to ask that. Am I ignoring my own advice and opening up the Cooper Center to lawsuits?

Short answer: no

Long answer: What matters is where the actual video file is stored. This domain (support.coopercenter.org) isn't actually hosting the video. The video exists on YouTube's servers. It's being streamed from their servers. I just embedded the video on this page using the remote video media content type. If I were to download the video off of YouTube and re-upload it to one of our sites, that would be copyright infringement. Don't do that.

Remote videos are the only exception.

All the photos on our sites are hosted by us. For example, if you right click the photo below and select copy image address you'll see that the photo URL is as follows:

https://support.coopercenter.org/sites/support/files/2020-04/mikhail-vasilyev-NodtnCsLdTE-unsplash.jpg

cat photo

Notice that the domain is support.coopercenter.org. That means that the photo is hosted on our servers. The actual image file is stored on our servers. This particular photo was downloaded from unsplash.com and uploaded to our site. This is explicitly allowed by the photo's copyright holder because it came from unsplash.com. The following is taken from the license explanation page on unsplash.com.

All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.

More precisely, Unsplash grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash. This license does not include the right to compile photos from Unsplash to replicate a similar or competing service.

There are other places to find free to use photos, just make sure that you understand what counts as copyright infringement before you go searching other sources. If you have questions, please submit a support ticket

Below is a short quiz to test if your understanding of copyright and where you can find usable photos. 

Complexity
Beginner