Using Music, Images & Videos

Useful information on copyright issues surrounding music and images by fellow ITF Jenny Kijowski. Her original post is here.

Finding music, images and video clips that you can legally use in your videos will be a bit of a challenge. Here are some tips for preventing copyright infringement:

Most of the songs you know and love are copyrighted, meaning in order to use them (even for private use), you will need to obtain a license, which is often expensive and impossible to get for small projects such as yours. You may usepublic-domain music, but most PD songs were published before 1922–probably not your cup of tea. And you may use 30 seconds of any song under fair use laws, but 30-second blocks of songs may be prohibitive and not what you’re looking for.

So, how to find current music to use for your PSAs? There are several options. One option is to use CC-licensed music (songs licensed under Creative Commons, an organization dedicated to making media available to the public). Sites such as and dig.ccMixter are good places to look. Wikimedia Commons is another source for free-use music. Another option is to Google “podsafe music.” Or, for those of you who are musically inclined, you can create your own music via GarageBand, an application that came with your Macs.

Regardless of where you find your music, whether you pay for a license or use a CC-licensed song or use 30-second clips of songs, you MUST include a music credit in your project (something like you see in the end credits of a movie). For your PSAs, you might want to include a “music credits” section at the end of your movie that includes song, album, artist, and year of publication/release.

As with music, you cannot use an image in your own project just because it’s online. The good news is, however, it’s relatively easy to find images that are licensed for public use. Wikimedia Commons has images in addition to music, as does Creative Commons. You can also search the Flickr Creative Commons page, or do an Advanced Search in Google (for Usage Rights, click on “free to use share or modify”). There is also, a “collaborative photo encyclopedia” that includes CC-licensed images, information about the images, and additional goodies. Of course, you can always use images you generate yourself! And as with music, you MUST give credit where credit is due–usually, a photo credit goes beneath the image as a caption.

The same basic rules that apply to images and music apply to use of video. See the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video–watch the video (it’s pretty short but informative) and pay special attention to the “Best Practices” section below the video, which explains the different ways of using copyrighted video clips and what the general rules are. To be safe, use 30 seconds or less of any copyrighted material, and ALWAYS, ALWAYS CREDIT YOUR SOURCES.

A note about crediting your sources…
Each discipline has its own standard for properly documenting sources. The humanities, for instance, use MLA (Modern Language Association) guidelines, while the sciences use the CSE (Council of Science Editors) system. Ask your professor which system they prefer you to use, and find a reliable guide (again, ask your professor for recommendations, but Diana Hacker’s site is a good one to use). It is NOT enough simply to copy and paste the url of your source.

Additional Resources
DMCA Exceptions

Creative Commons Search

Creative Commons License Generator

GNU General Public License

Snapshot Day: October 11th 2011

Every year Macaulay Honors College students in Seminar 1: The Arts in New York City take photographs for a cross-campus exhibit.

Just follow these 3 easy steps:

  • TAKE several pictures on October 11th – anywhere and of anything in NYC! Your photo can be of any subject–anything that represents how you see in New York City on that day.
  • CHOOSE one of your photos.
  • UPLOAD your chosen photo to the online Gallery between October 12 and Oct. 25. Instructions for uploading your image to the online gallery can be found here:

The online gallery will be open for viewing, commenting and sharing, so tell your friends, family and classmates to have a look. (after October 11, of course, when your photos are there to be seen!)

A team of student curators, led by a curatorial associate, will mount all the photos in an exhibition at the Macaulay building, which you will come to see and experience on Sunday, December 4.

If you want to have a look at some of the photos from previous years, they are here

So, don't forget to shoot them on October 11--anytime in that 24-hour period!


Adding footnotes to a post or to a page is very easy. If you're creating your own website, go to Plugins and activate FD Footnote. Once the plugin is activated, follow the steps below.

Say, for example, I want to include a footnote, here.1

Place your cursor where you want the footnote to appear and type an open square bracket “[” (without the quotation marks), then the number for your footnote, followed directly by a period, and the footnote text. Finish the footnote with a closed square bracket “]” (again, without the quotation marks) and you're all set; you can continue with the rest of your post/page. While editing the text you'll see the footnote within your text, but when you go to the page, the footnote will be in its proper place. If you look at the footnote on the bottom of this post, you are basically typing that exact information, but beginning with an open square bracket and ending with a closed square bracket.

  1. Smith, John. A Very Important Text. New York: Routledge, 2010.