Entrants are strongly encouraged to use copyright-free material, follow Fair Use guidelines, or show evidence of permission to use copyrighted material in the entry. Entrants accept that liability for the illegal use of copyrighted material will rest with the entrant, and no liability shall be transferred to the Blue Spark Awards or Middle Tennessee State University.
Use of copyrighted material without evidence of permission to use same in the entry will be taken into consideration during judging.
Information about using copyrighted materials
The Center for Media & Social Impact at American University has been researching and publishing information about Fair Use for some time. They have created guidelines for Media Literacy education, Documentary Film, Online Video and other areas on the usage of Fair Use material. They do not offer legal advice but provide guidelines that creators can use to make an educated determination. Here are links to those guidelines.
- Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video
- Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use
- The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education
Free sources of media you can use
There are online sources for copyright free music, images, audio and stock. Here are a few.
- Free Music Archive
- Freeplay Music
- Creative Commons
Stock Photo and Video
What is Copyright?
(Article from Wikipedia used under under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)
Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution, usually for a limited time, with the intention of enabling the creator (e.g. the photographer of a photograph or the author of a book) to receive compensation for their intellectual effort. The exclusive rights are, however, not absolute and do not give the creator total control of their works because they are limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law.
Copyright is a form of intellectual property, applicable to any expressed representation of a creative work. It is often shared among multiple authors, each of whom holds a set of rights to use or license the work, and who are commonly referred to as rightsholders. These rights frequently include reproduction, control over derivative works, distribution, public performance, and “moral rights” such as attribution.
As far back as 1787, the United States Constitution provided for the protection of copyrights “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” The contemporary intent of copyright is to promote the creation of new works by giving authors control of and profit from them. Copyrights are said to be territorial, which means that they do not extend beyond the territory of a specific state unless that state is a party to an international agreement. Today, however, this is less relevant, since most countries are parties to at least one such agreement. While many aspects of national copyright laws have been standardized through international copyright agreements, copyright laws of most countries have some unique features. Typically, the duration of copyright is the whole life of the creator plus fifty to a hundred years from the creator’s death, or a finite period for anonymous or corporate creations. Some jurisdictions have required formalities to establishing copyright, but most recognize copyright in any completed work, without formal registration. Generally, copyright is enforced as a civil matter, though some jurisdictions do apply criminal sanctions.
Most jurisdictions recognize copyright limitations, allowing “fair” exceptions to the creator’s exclusivity of copyright and giving users certain rights. The development of digital media and computer network technologies have prompted reinterpretation of these exceptions, introduced new difficulties in enforcing copyright, and inspired additional challenges to copyright law’s philosophic basis. Simultaneously, businesses with great economic dependence upon copyright, such as those in the music business, have advocated the extension and expansion of their intellectual property rights and sought additional legal and technological enforcement.