How to Avoid Copyright Infringement While Creating Presentations?

How to avoid copyright infringements in presentations
Do you worry about infringing someone’s copyrights while using images, videos or music in your presentation? You’d also want to protect your own copyrights while sharing presentations with the world via online slide-sharing platforms.In this blog post, let’s walk through:

  • What is Copyright
  • Dealing with Creative Commons
  • How to avoid copyright infringement while using images, videos or music on your own presentation slides
  • How to protect your own copyrights while sharing presentations with the world via online slide-sharing platforms.

What is copyright?
Copyright is a protection provided to the authors for their original work. It protects an original and specific expression of ideas. This expression can be in various forms like pictures, music, videos, cartoons, audiotapes, literary works, drawings, speeches, and slides. The act of creating an original work creates the Copyright and it’s not required to register for Copyright. Even if the copyright symbol (©) is not present, the copyright law still applies to an original piece of work.

This clearly means that you can’t use someone’s original piece of work without acknowledging the source by giving credit to the author or citing the source. If the work is in the public domain like on the web, you can give a URL link to the copyrighted material.

Creative Commons Licensing
If you’ve surfed Internet long enough, you know that most websites have Creative Commons badge or similar integrations of their licenses. It is a popularly used licensing system among authors to give others permission to use their creations under a certain set of circumstances. With this license, an artist’s work continues to be a copyrighted one but it grants additional permissions to others to share, distribute, adapt or sell under the conditions specified by the artist.

Under Creative Commons, it’s not sufficient to give a URL source of an image or video used in your presentation. You need to at least include the following:

  • Name of the author
  • Title of the work (if any)
  • Mention the Creative Commons license under which the original work is available
  • Reproduce copyright notices (if any) as included by the creator
  • An identification that your work is derivative which is an expressive creation that includes major, copyright-protected elements of an original, previously created first work

How to avoid copyright infringement while using images, videos or music on your own presentation slides?

  • Images: You’ll find a huge collection of free and paid images on the Internet. If you are looking to buy images, some of well-known sites are iStock , fotolia and Corbis. Flickr too, has a huge collection, some are offered for free while others are available under a Creative Commons license. Then there are free images, which you can find using Google’s advanced image search. One of the ways that can help you minimize copyright infringements is to have the URL and attribution of the image pasted at the bottom of the slide. We recommend you to use authorSTREAM Desktop for searching and inserting images from Flickr or Bing. authorSTREAM Desktop is a free PowerPoint plugin which lets you search images from Flickr and Bing from within the PowerPoint and even takes care of insertion of attribution.
  • Music: You can collect songs or musical works from ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). It’s one of the main organizations which grants (and polices) music usage rights. For free music, you need to search open-source music sites like Internet Archive. These are internet libraries that collect public domain work and have frequently negotiated for rights. Free music download services are also available like Apple’s iTunes or We7. Select from a vast library of music available online but ensure to give credit to the author. You can alter the music to suit your needs but cannot change its “fundamental character”, according to The National Association for Music Education. Before you purchase an image or use a picture freely available, you should always read copyright terms and conditions of these images or sites where they are available.
  • Videos or movies: To use a production company’s video in your slides, you need to directly get in touch with the company. They might just let you use their work, on the condition that you give them credit. YouTube and Vimeo has a good collection of publicly available videos. Although most people use them without seeking author’s permission, it’s advisable to first seek permission from the author. A prominent blogger lists points you should mention while seeking the author’s permission to use the video.
  • Quotes or Written Works: Using quotes of experts always add authenticity and value to your own views during the presentation delivery. Select short lines from an author’s work and cite the source to give proper recognition to the author’s work. To use longer portion of the work, you need to directly seek permission from the author. The Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) helps you to locate the author or get permission to use a written work.  It doesn’t matter if you are using videos, images, quotes or music, it is always a good practice to get in touch with the author and seek permission.


How can you protect your own presentations online under copyright laws?
You’ve figured out ways to avoid copyright infringement. What about protecting your own content? authorSTREAM provides copyright licenses to let others distribute, edit, copy, remix or build upon your presentations, all within the boundaries of copyright laws. You just need to specify the copyright license you’d like to choose while uploading a presentation on authorSTREAM and confidently share it with the world.


Enjoy using valuable content on your slides but always follow the fair practice to give credit to the author and expect the same from others when they use your presentation for their works.


By: Daisy Kumar
Writer at authorSTREAM
Disclaimer: The content provided in this blog post is for information purpose only. The author or the owner of the content makes no representatives as the accuracy or completeness of any information provided in this blog post. The owner will also not be liable for any errors or omissions in the information nor the availability of this information. The author or the owner will also not be liable for any damages or losses from the display or use of this information.

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  1. Thanhk you for every other great article. Thhe place else may just anyone get thst type of info in such a perfect manner of writing?
    I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m on the lopk for such information.

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