Fair Use

This document is inspired from Dr. Soe's similar document, itself based on Dr. Guthrie's criteria

Copying graphics or text off of the web, a book, a video, a person etc, is plagiarism and a violation of copyright law. However, recognizing that you are not a graphic artist, sports photographer or specifications engineer, using some graphics and text is acceptable for the purpose of this course (and only in that context). As a requirement, you will keep a source log of the graphics and text that you 'borrow' and indicate how you changed them. See the sample log for the level of detail. Posting this source log on your web site is a requirement of each project.

The best solution is either to acquire your own data (digital video and still image camera, your own graphic or music creation - GarageBand-).

Any work submitted with borrowed work which is not logged will be penalised.

Acceptable for this Class




  • Pictures scanned from books
  • Emblems of Sports Teams, Computer Games, etc.
  • Sports Figures
  • Movie Stars
  • Anime, Cartoon Characters
  • Icons for Mastercard, Visa, Under Construction...etc

You are still required to make a source log and detail what pictures you borrowed and how you altered them. If your site uses lots of graphics that you did not change, it will lower your grade.

  • Product Information - Phones, Cars, Toys, Prices
  • Sports Statistics
  • Player Bios
  • Schedules, Dates, Venues
  • Anything you quote appropriately.

You need to log the text you borrowed in the same way you log the graphics.

If you copy text outright, you are required to put it inside quotes and write (at the top) where the copy came from - better to paraphrase text, shorten it -- and make a note at the bottom of the page where you got it.

  • Using a web authoring tool to build your code.
  • Using scripts from JavaScript libraries.
  • Starting your CSS from an existing one, and then modifying it

Copying a Script and then altering it to suit your purpose is fine.

Usually, in the source code, you identify the author and how you altered the code.

You still need to log the original CSS in your log file.

Web authoring tools are fine to use.

Suggestion: Photoshop provides tools to alter graphics in many ways: changing the colours, combining multiple images into one image, cropping images, applying filters to part of an image, applying Photoshop Actions - bring your work to a higher level

Suggestion: Do an image-intensive site that doesn't require a great deal of text - "a picture is worth a thousand words!".

An acceptable quote is made by using the APA style guide.

Suggestion: Don't use a lot of frivolous technology. Think about what it makes sense for your site to do, then figure out how to do it. It is easier than just copying scripts without thinking.

Remember-- Less is more!

Unacceptable for this Class

  • Logos, graphics, photos "borrowed" without changing them
  • Downloading and using photos from the web without changing them --
  • Downloading and using animated gifs -- create your own!
  • Using graphics designed by another student not in your assignment group.
  • Promotional information on products copied verbatim.
  • Histories of countries, people, authors, etc., that you copy verbatim
  • Stories copied verbatim.
  • Descriptions, copied verbatim.
  • ...just about everything from anywhere. You need to write your own copy.
  • Using text designed by another student not in your assignment group.

  • Copying the design and layout from another site.
  • Copying without adaptation some source code from another site.
  • Using code/CSS ... designed by another student not in your assignment group.

Suggestion: The purpose of this class is to learn how to design and create a multimedia web site using some industry-strength tools. If you simply borrow material, you do not learn how to use the tools. So give yourself a break and learn skills that will be useful to you in the future!

Suggestion: One day, this will save your life. Any web developer will tell you that the part of their project that takes the longest is waiting for the client to give you copy. Being able to write zippy copy will make people think you are a genius.

If you really cannot write, stick to an image-based site using phrases, quotes or animated text. Make the graphics your strength.

Suggestion: The more thoroughly you learn to design, script and program, the more marketable you will be when you look for a job!

What about sound?