Here is few issues to consider for all of us:
(as outlined by Georgia K. Harper, Manager, Intellectual Property Section for the University of Texas System Office of General Counsel):
1) What is the character of the use of my image/text/video?
2) What is the nature of the work to be used – educational/entertaining/’mature’?
3) How much of the work will you use?
4) What effect would this use have on the market?
And my own reflections:
– do you intent to present the image/work in a way it was meant (by its creator/s) to be presented/read?
– why do you use the image/work – is it because you want to illustrate/stress your educational point or due to the pure ‘decoration’ of your site?
– how clearly/fairly the credits to the authors are displayed?
– have you made an attempt to contact the owner/s, how long are you prepared to wait for the response?
– have you considered your own intellectual property to be shared, how would you inform your readers/viewers about it?
Copyright may apply to a wide range of creative, intellectual, or artistic forms, or “works”. Specifics vary by jurisdiction, but these can include poems, theses, plays, other literary works, movies, dances, musical compositions, audio recordings, paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, software, radio and television and broadcasts.
Copyright does not cover ideas and information themselves, only the form or manner in which they are expressed. For example, the copyright to a Mickey Mouse cartoon restricts others from making copies of the cartoon or creating derivative works based on Disney’s particular anthropomorphic mouse, but doesn’t prohibit the creation of other works about anthropomorphic mice in general, so long as they’re different enough to not be judged copies of Disney’s. In many jurisdictions, copyright law makes exceptions to these restrictions when the work is copied for the purpose of commentary or other related uses (See Fair Use, Fair Dealing). Meanwhile, other laws may impose additional restrictions that copyright does not — such as trademarks and patents.
Copyright laws are standardized somewhat through international conventions such as the Berne Convention and Universal Copyright Convention. These multilateral treaties have been ratified by nearly all countries, and international organizations such as the European Union or World Trade Organization require their member states to comply with them.
Text in italics reprinted from (emphasis mine):