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If you are going to include videos and sounds in your presentations, it's wise to consider whether those assets have copyrights. A copyright protects the author of the creative work. The creator has the exclusive right to decide whether other people can use the clip or make derivative works. Some authors require permission for you to use their images in you work. Others require payment for those rights. Due to the ease of googling any image or finding a movie on YouTube, it's easy to just think to yourself, "Oh, no one will notice if I just use it in my PowerPoint," but how would you feel for a work you produced wound up inside someone else's product? Wouldn't you want credit or the payment you deserve? The basic rule of thumb is this: if you are including the media as part of a personal project that only you will see or you're giving the presentation for a class, this is considered personal use.
It's usually okay to use the asset but it's appropriate to include a caption giving credit to the author or the web source. If you will be presenting the content through your business, this is considered commercial use. Not only would you want to give credit to the author right on the slide, but you should also ask the creator for permission. It does not matter whether you will make a profit from the usage. If you will be publishing and distributing your final product either by CD, DVD, or upload it to a website, you cannot include other people's work without written consent.
You cannot directly state or imply that you created the work. You may even need to pay royalties every time your finished product is viewed. So how do you go about getting this permission? If it's something you find on the web, locate the author's email address and send him or her a message, or draft a formal letter and send it through the mail. Include your name and contact information, the name of the asset you would like to use, the URL where you found it, and information about your presentation including title, purpose, audience, and planned distribution.
If you'd like to use the content from a DVD or music CD, you'll need to contact the publisher. They may have a formal request process with forms to fill out. This process may take several months to complete and you may need to pay royalties every time your presentation is viewed. If all of this is over-kill for your purposes, there are dozens of sites on the web where you can get free or low-cost stock media. You'll come across a few license and terms it's important to understand. Free - you have permission to download and use the content in any way you'd like.
Usually these resources are low-quality, low-resolution, or made by an amateur hoping to build a clientele. Rights-managed or rights-ready video footage imposes restrictions on usage such as limitations on size, placement, duration of use, and geographic distribution. In other words, it can only be used in the project that you specify. Royalty-free media asks for one-time fee, allowing you use in multiple projects. The fee will depend on the resolution, quality or file size. Exclusive rights for an extra fee will remove that image from the company's website so that you are the only person who can use that asset.
That will prevent your competitor's from using it too. To find any of these types of multimedia, do a search for royalty-free or free stock music, videos, sounds, or images and check out the links until you find what you need. All you'll have to do is register with the website and you can download anything you like. Here are a few high-quality websites you can go to for professional stock images and royalty free songs images and videos. istockphoto.com has multimedia of all types. gettyimages.com also sources high- quality media. There's pond5.com.
And even office.microsoft.com has its own library of thousands of images. There are hundreds of other sources out there but do realize that they may not be as trustworthy as these and other professional-quality websites. So once you decide whether your PowerPoint presentation is for personal use, business use, or public consumption, be sure to honor all applicable copyright laws.
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