GIF

Short for graphics interchange format, a GIF (pronounced jiff or giff) is a bit-mapped graphics file format used by the World Wide Web in various settings. Developed by CompuServe, GIFs originally served to compress color images so they could be shared without diminishing a computer s memory. GIFs were mostly used for still images at the time, but PNGs eventually took over as the standard digital image file format and GIFs have since become the primary way of sharing animated images online.

How are GIFs made?

GIFs are largely democratic in nature many online tools can take any URL or user-uploaded file, extract the relevant images, and create an exportable GIF file that can then be used in blogs, message boards, community forums, social media posts, etc. Because GIFs are fundamentally a series of static images strung together to create an animation, design applications like Photoshop and GIMP enable users to create custom GIFs from start to finish, which makes GIFs a powerful tool for marketing professionals to engage their audiences. It is important to note that GIFs only support up to 256 colors and generally come with a large file size, which makes HTML5 videos a rising competitor in online animations.

Are GIFs subject to copyright?

GIFs are protected under the Fair Use doctrine in the United States, meaning GIFs may use material from copyrighted media (movies, television shows, viral videos, etc.) according to the following criteria:

  • Purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  • Nature of the copyrighted material
  • Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  • Effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

Many court cases throughout U.S. history have illuminated the flexibility of the Fair Use doctrine, but GIF as a medium has yet to be challenged under this law. However, instances of major media companies and other organizations seeking to protect their intellectual property (like Disney, the NFL, and even the International Olympic Committee) have set cultural precedents for widespread GIF use. Giphy, an online GIF database and creator, has been regarded by many companies as a trustworthy moderator of GIF infringement debates and will remove any community-created GIF that violates its Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) policies.

 

 

 

 

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

Related Articles

Phishing

What is phishing? Phishing is a type of cybercrime in which victims are contacted by email, telephone, or text message by an attacker posing as...

Digital Advertising

What is Digital Advertising? Digital advertising is marketing to a target audience through digital platforms, including social media, email, search engines, mobile apps, affiliate programs,...

Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an electronic authentication process that provides extra layers of security to an application or service against various cyber attacks. Also...

RSA SecurID

RSA SecurID is multi-factor authentication (MFA) technology used to protect network resources, such as applications and websites. Its purpose is to mitigate risk and...

ScalaHosting

ScalaHosting is a leading managed hosting provider that offers secure, scalable, and affordable...

HRIS

Human resources information system (HRIS) solutions help businesses manage multiple facets of their...

Best Managed Service Providers...

In today's business world, managed services are more critical than ever. They can...