1. “No copyright infringement intended”

As a Charles Sturt student or employee, you may be asked to create a video, presentation, website or blog. These projects contain multiple types of media (images, audio, animations and video content). If you want to reuse someone else’s creative work how can you do this ethically?

Technology makes it increasingly easy to obtain and manipulate content — to create mashups, remixes and memes — how can you be sure you are respecting other people’s rights as creators? In most cases a “No copyright infringement intended” disclaimer is not the answer.


Three photos of Barack Obama
Example of how original creative works can be “remixed”. Source: Michael Cramer CC BY 2.0.

Algorithms can identify online copyright infringement

The major online platforms now use algorithmic means to identify works which potentially infringe copyright. A well-known example of this is YouTube’s Content ID, which can automatically scan images, audio or video content uploaded onto the platform, and then notify copyright owners. Copyright owners can ask the platform to take down your content if it infringes their intellectual property rights.

Decorative YouTube Content ID (YouTube, 3m9s)

Reusing content? What you should check first

Before you reuse someone else’s image, video or audio you should consider the:

  • copyright status of the item and whether any exemptions for use exist
  • licence conditions (if relevant)
  • moral rights of creators.

Failing to consider these factors can negatively impact your project. For instance, if the project is for a university assignment, infringing copyright or failing to appropriately credit a source could mean you receive a lower mark or inadvertently commit plagiarism (plagiarism is a form of academic misconduct). In the workplace, the same behaviour could open you or your employer up to legal liability. A less severe consequence could be that your project receives a copyright take-down notice.

Decorative Read the Atlantic Magazine‘s When a ‘Remix’ Is Plain Ole Plagiarism. Think about how you would feel if your creative work was copied without your permission.

This chapter is adapted from 1. "No copyright infringement intended" in Find and Use Media by The University of Queensland Library.


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