Some important things to know about copyright:
Items that are without copyright are considered "in the public domain." These materials are free to use, reproduce, distribute, or change, without permissions. There are several ways in which an item may enter the public domain:
It is often difficult to locate a copyright or creative commons license notice, especially when searching for digital media. Look carefully around the edges of the item.
A copyright notice may appear as an image or logo. For example:
(Under copyright with Creative Commons permissions)
or or (Within the Public Domain)
A copyright notice may also appear not as an image or logo, but as text. For example:
"All Rights Reserved"
"Public Domain Work"
A copyright notice may be hidden under a separate page, tab, or header within a website. Look around carefully for the following phrases, and click on them when possible:
Remember, if you cannot find any information about the copyright status, you must assume that the work is protected under copyright laws, with all rights reserved.
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that has created several unique licenses that allow authors (copyright holders) to grant certain permissions to the public. These licenses are legally biding and indicate to the public exactly how the work can be used. If a work is displayed with a Creative Commons license, you are able to use it legally in ways that a traditional U.S. copyright license (©) would not allow.
CC-BY (Attribution) You may distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the work, even commercially, as long as you credit the original creator.
CC-BY-SA (Attribution-ShareAlike) You may remix, tweak, and build upon the work, even for commercial purposes, as long as you credit the original creator and license your new creation under an identical license.
CC-BY-ND (Attribution-NoDerivs) You may redistribute, commercially or non-commercially, as long as the work is passed along unchanged and in whole, with credit to the original creator. You cannot change the work in any way.
CC-BY-NC (Attribution-NonCommercial) You may remix, tweak, and build upon the work, as long as you credit the original creator and use the creation for non-commercial purposes.
CC-BY-NC-SA (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike) You may remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as you credit the original creator and license your new creation under an identical license.
CC-BY-NC-ND (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs) You may share the work with others, but you cannot change it in any way or use it commercially. You must credit the original creator.