Download or Down-Right Theft

I was recently given an assignment to re-edit a video that had been created by an amateur editor.

The video was a valiant first effort to create an information piece and they did a pretty darn good job, all things considered.

The one glaring error was that the video was populated with images from the Internet. I was immediately tipped off because many of the images and video clips were low resolution and their pixilated nature was a real distraction from the message.

Content acquisition by this approach presents a number of problems, not the least of which is copyright infringement.

Downloading other people’s pictures and videos, without permission, for use in your own production is more than a newbie mistake: it’s against the law. Since there are many, many places online where royalty-free photos and video can be found at no cost or for a nominal fee, there’s really no reason to risk stealing other people’s work.

The Internet is still very much like the Wild West in so many ways. And the lack of respect for the content creator’s rights seems to be a hangover from the days of popular but illegal ‘file sharing’ sites like Pirate Bay, Napster and BitTorrent. It’s time for this to end.

When it comes to creating a video that represents your business or organization, be certain that every photo, every video clips, voice recording and music track is something you are certain you have the right to use. If you don’t, there’s a good chance it will come back to bite you.

Here are just a few places you can go to get royalty free stuff for your next production.

  • Pixabay – Often my frist choice for free photos. The selcetion is limited but it’s truly free.

  • Stock.XCHNGread the license agreement carefully not everything is free

  • Openphoto – images are free of charge under terms of Creative Commons licensing.

  • Stockvault – images are free for personal, non-commercial use only.

  • Unprofound – great photos, with no particular significant restrictions on use.

  • Free Media Goo –  free and royalty free graphic images with unlimited commercial and private use.

  • Morguefile – free usage rights, it is similar to taking the image yourself, but you can not claim ownership of the image.

  • Flickr  Visit the Advanced Search Page, and select “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content”

  • Wikipedia: Almost all the images you’ll find on Wikipedia are available under the Creative Commons License Agreement. As long as you abide by this agreement you can use images from Wikipedia in your production. Don’t just click ‘agree.’ Read it through. Among other things you may have to give credit to the photographer and if you make money from your production you may have to pay a royalty fee. Either one of these conditions is a small price to pay for use of a great photo.

In addition to Wikipedia there are a host of great photo and video sites that allow you to use their content for free or for a very low cost one-time payment. The same is true for music and sound effects. 123RF, SoundDogs, VideoBlocks, and Canva are just a just few of the options available. There are actually too many to list here.

So, just because you can download images, videos, and music from the Internet, it doesn’t mean you have the right to re-use them in your video production or on your website without permission from the creator or publisher.

As a professional content creator, I respect the copyright claims of all content creators and I would ask that you do the same, especially if you’re creating or commissioning a video production for the purpose of promoting your business.


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