In its purest form, copyright law is merely an application of the 7th Commandment: “Thou shalt not steal.” So how does this relate to all the goodies we find on the Internet? No, not just the cat videos, but those images/pictures we use for our programs, newsletters, and other communication.

No doubt, copyright law can be perplexing. The jargon itself can be confusing, with vocabulary like “public domain,” “fair use,” and “creative commons.” Some people even think that teachers have the right to use any materials at any time when used in the classroom!

Here are some resources that will take some of the mystery out of copyright law.

1. Finding Copyright-Free Images for Catechetical Use by Jonathan Sullivan, Director of Parish Ministries, Services, and Catechesis, in the Diocese of Lafayette, Indiana. This video has an audience similar to ours. An updated version of a previous video is just 14 minutes long. He makes some good suggestions on where to go to find copyright-free images. See

2. Honoring Copyright from Our Sunday Visitor. An infographic identifies simple steps you need to take to comply with copyright law. See

3. Showing Movies in Churches raises awareness about copyright law. This resource highlights that showing a movie to parishioners or use in a classroom may violate copyright law. This resource may not make you an expert, but you’ll begin to understand that there is more to “movie night” than popping in a DVD.

4. Copyright and Fair Use Animation (3 min) takes you through what you can and cannot do with works you find on the Internet.

Bonus: My go-to website for images is or They are free for the taking, and you do not have to credit them. Many are excellent. The copyright image used in this blog post comes from Pixabay.

Jim Connell
Digital Learning and Technology Specialist

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay