"What do you mean I can't use that image/map/handout online - it's educational! I've done it for years!"While copyright isn't the only thing to worry about when putting PowerPoint online (for example, there is the problem of only some browsers showing it well), right now it definitely seems to be the main thing. Instructors, used to being able to show media without restriction in classrooms, sometimes have a hard time facing the reality that we don't have the right to use lots of media online, even in password-protected online course materials. Many people ask "Who says? Where is it spelled out?" Unfortunately the answer is nowhere clearly or simply. Go to Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia to see one of the many, many pages up on the web which try to explain the current situation of electronic copyright restrictions."How Do I Know If It's Available for Online Use, or Under Copyright?"
The reality is that it is Washburn University policy that no copyrighted material can be used, without specific permission, in any online setting. Anywhere that students (or anyone else) can take a digital copy of the material, you are distributing it electronically, and that is not allowed with materials under copyright.Big question; often big pain. Just because it's up on the web doesn't mean we can assume it is already in the public domain and so available for all. Iin other words, one person stealing something and putting it up on the web doesn't make it right for the rest of us to make free with the stolen goods. Basically, you don't know if you can use it unless you yourself created it or took it from a source no longer under copyright (more than 75 years old has been the standard), have seen a specific statement saying the item is generally available for online educational use, or have gotten specific permission from the copyright holder. This means many things we can use freely in closed environments, we can't use freely online."So Where's The Best Place to Find Usable Media?"While it isn't yet very easy to get digital texts, images, soundfiles, etc that are fairuse or come with permissions, it often can be done. Some good strategies for finding such materials:
Duck the Question: Making a PPT Hyperlink Button to the Web
- Scan it in yourself from a source not or no longer under copyright. (Clearly this works better in some fields than others.) Almost anything in print that is more than 75 years old is fair game. Travellers photographs are also fine, provided the person who took the image is willing to allow its use.
- Look for online sites created especially to make fairuse materials widely available. Historians for example are working to create and share digital copies of old maps, images and texts. My annotated Useful Weblinks for World History Instructors includes some of these. Many to most disciplines now have, circulating somewhere, lists of best online sites for fairuse media resources. Check around about this, perhaps on email discussion lists or at conferences.
- For clipart, visit About.com's Web Clip Art and other sites relevant to your own needs. About.com consists of many, many separate specialty sites, each created by a specialist Guide, and containing huge numbers of well-arranged, annotated links to relevant websites. The listed sites are of very uneven quality, but many are good sources for images and other media resources.
- Go to US Government sites, since materials created with government resources usually must be in the public domain (so freely usable). But still be careful not to assume all materials on such a site are free for use - try always to read "conditions of use" statements.
- Always look for and read conditions-of-use statements on sites filled with rich resources. While many of the big museum sites are very restrictive, some are now much more generous (for example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art copyright policy seems to allow unaltered images up within WebCT, as long as they are always accompanied by the Museum URL).
- Write and ask permission. Many sites say something like "no use whatsoever without permission." Some never respond to email, or say a flat no. Others respond much more positively. Try to be very clear about what you want to do (ex: "May I use these 6 images [file names listed] in my online instructor's essays. They will be in a password protected site; each will have as a caption full credit to your site plus a hotlink back to it. Yours is a wonderful site and I will be so very grateful if I might make use of some of its resources. Your obedient servant, Professor XXXX.")
- Buy a web clip (or click) art collection, sold specifically as providing unrestricted rights for individual web use.
- While you can't just take and redistribute anything copyrighted that you find on the web, you can still make use of by linking back into its original web location.
One way to do this is by making Action Buttons into hyper- (or hot-) links to a specific web resource. For how to do basic Action Buttons, go to the Advanced PowerPoint Action Buttons page.
- Hyperlinks can be activated by lots of things other than buttons. Anything that PPT sees as an object (including text, images, and even sound file icons) can be turned into a hyperlink. First insert into a slide whatever object you want to be "clickable" to activate a hyperlink. If you want to do this with text, you will need to create a new textbox to hold new text. Do this by selecting Insert, then Text Box. Nothing will appear automatically until you put your cursor where you want the text and click. Then the outline of a beginner box should appear and you can key text into it. This text can be anything: the URL to be visited, the name of the site, etc. If you change your mind and want to get rid of the text and its box, just delete the text, move your cursor outside of the now-empty box, and click. The box should disappear.
- Turning the chosen text, image or sound icon into a hyperlink isn't hard. Select it, click on Insert in the top toolbar, and from the drop-down box that appears, Hyperlink. (Note that the Hyperlink command won't be active [appear as black text rather than faded out] unless you have some object selected, which can be made into a hyperlink.) Add the desired URL to the dropdown box's textbox which says "type the file or Web page name."
- Tip: Select the middle of three buttons that appear on the left of the drop-down box (the one which says "Browsed Pages"), and the URLs of all websites most recently visited will appear in a text box. If you haven't recently browsed into your target website, do so now (opening a web browser box outside of PPT.) Your site's URL will then appear as a URL, highlight it, and that URL should appear automatically in the hyperlink URL box.
- Note that when you activate an image or a text to serve as a hyperlink, what you have done may not be obvious on the finished slide. This may not matter if you are the only one operating the PPT presentation. But if the show is to be used by others, you may want to do something to make the existence of the link obvious to all. You might make hyperlink text the traditional bright blue, put a blue frame around a hyperlinked image, or perhaps insert an additional text box saying something like "click here." This is what was done in the below slide example, using a copy of an online banner image (permission to use as hyperlink, with URL visible, via email).
Example slide: Robinson banner image is clickable hyperlink