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Can I use clip art for powerpoints/handouts?

Last Updated: Jan 23, 2014  |  183 Views

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In short, yes! The long answer is below (please review the citation requirement listed at the bottom):

Whenever you buy a software package like Microsoft Office, or a single program like Word, you’re bound by the license that comes with the software.

The terms that come with Microsoft Office state that everybody who owns the software is allowed to “copy and use the media elements in projects and documents.” And those media elements include “images, clip art, animations, sounds, music, video clips, templates and other forms of content.” You can’t get much broader than that. So it’s a big yes to using Clip Art for presentations/handouts etc.

And under these terms, there are only four things you can’t do:

(1) You can’t resell an image or clip art or other media content itself. And that means you can’t create a product from that media content where the only real value of the product is from the media content.

(2) You can’t give anybody else permission to use the content by itself. You can certainly give someone permission to reprint your presentation. You just can’t tell someone else it’s okay to use the clip art for their own purposes, by itself.

(3) You can’t use anything that shows “identifiable individuals, governments, logos, trademarks, or emblems” in any way that might make it seem that they’re associated with you or endorsing you or what you’re doing or saying.

(4) You can’t “create obscene or scandalous works using the media elements.” ‘

On its website with equally liberal terms of use — even if you don’t own the Microsoft Office software:

“ and Office Web App media elements and templates. If you use Microsoft or the Microsoft Office Web Apps, you may have access to media images, clip art, animations, sounds, music, video clips, templates, and other forms of content (“media elements”) provided with the software available on or as part of services associated with the software. You may copy and use the media elements in projects and documents. You may not (i) sell, license, or distribute copies of the media elements by themselves or as a product if the primary value of the product is the media elements; (ii) grant your customers rights to further license or distribute the media elements; (iii) license or distribute for commercial purposes media elements that include the representation of identifiable individuals, governments, logos, trademarks, or emblems or use these types of images in ways that could imply an endorsement or association with your product, entity or activity; or (iv) create obscene works using the media elements.”

As for citing, you do have to cite clip art. Microsoft requests that you use the statement "Used with permission from Microsoft." If you are using a bunch of clip art I suggest just putting that at the end simply saying “All/certain (specify) images are used with permission from Microsoft.”

Answered by Heather BuffettBookmark and Share

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