CGD218 Week 3 Assignment – Visual Literacy

Visual Literacy in Business – CGD218

In todays world the availability of images, video, music online, and much more is readily available for others to view and most don’t realize that it’s not free for the taking or sharing. “Copyright is automatic, as soon as something is captured in a fixed format, such as being written down or recorded, it’s protected by copyright.” The copyright symbol is simply a reminder. Permission is needed to use almost all Intellectual Properties. Exclusions to the copyright law include ideas, facts and data. Since the majority of everything on the internet, in books, magazines, etc. is protected by copyright law, distributing information can be in violation of copyright laws. Most people don’t know that what they are sharing is a violation.

With sites such as Facebook, Flickr, google images violating copyright laws are really easy. Memes take photographs, put a funny tagline on them and they go viral. They also spread like wildfire. Take the sad bear meme for example; it is commonly used on Imgur for any post with a sad story. Memes in general circulate social media sites very quickly. Although most everything is copyright protected, most people today don’t mind their funny creations being shared with the world.

In a business atmosphere, especially in advertising and marketing, creating original creations are very important. An advertiser can’t just go on google images and find a picture to use in their advertisement. They must take the photograph themselves, purchase something already created or get permission to use an image they would like to use. There are plenty of sites that have artwork available for purchase or use as long as they are given credit for their work.

Legally the common Social media user won’t get into trouble for sharing a funny meme or friends picture but there are times they could make the owner angry. In the roller derby world, there are many photographers capturing the knock downs, hard hits and funny moments in a bout. They usually upload all the images to Facebook or Flickr. There have been times that fliers have been made with an image without permission or credit. Usually the photograph gets a big angry on social media and all is forgotten. The only thing needed to keep everyone happy in this situation would have been photograph credit.

My mom is an artist and is very protective of her art. She won’t take pictures of her pieces and put them on Facebook or Instagram because she doesn’t want her hard work to be used without her knowing. She’s under the impression that the simple act of uploading the image gives the social media platform rights to her artwork. Based on the copyright video that doesn’t seem to be the case. It sounds like her art is and always will be her property unless she gives consent or someone pays for it.

The moral of the story is, when in doubt ask for permission, don’t use something you find on the internet as your own, always assume everything is copyright protected and it’s best to create your work yourself.


Williams R. (2012). Learning to See – A Guide to Visual Literacy

Copyright Clearance Center – Copyright Basics. Referenced from