12. About Images and Copyright Law
The use of copyrighted material online has become one of the most contentious issues in all of cyberspace, particularly when it comes to music, movies, and books. The truth is that a great deal of material you can find online is actually owned by a copyright holder, and using it without the copyright holder's permission violates the laws.
The issues are not quite so contentious when it comes to the use of images online, but you still need to adhere to copyright laws when you use images. Many images you find using the Google Image Search might be copyrighted, so you cannot use them for certain purposes.
As a general rule in the United States, you can use a copyrighted image for an educational, research, or not-for-profit purpose. If you or your child are using an image for a school research project, for example, that should be fair game. If you're using a copyrighted image as wallpaper for your computer, as described in Use an Image As Your Desktop Wallpaper, you should be fine as well. But if you're using a copyrighted image for a for-profit purpose, that breaks the law.
Sometimes, a copyrighted image on the Web carries a copyright notice, but more often than not, it doesn't. An image can still be copyrighted, even if it does not carry that notice. So be careful how you make use of images you find online.
For more information about U.S. copyright law, go to the Library of Congress website dealing with copyright issues at www.loc.gov/copyright. For information about international copyright laws, go to the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations at www.ifrro.org.