when I was at design college 2013 we were told (for educational purposes) that we could use images from the net (only photographs) to incorporate into designs for posters, collages, magazine covers, etc, and that we obviously could not make any money from these designs, but that we could use them in our portfolio. Is this true or false? I now have an FB page and, as a recent graduate, want to put up some of these designs on my page. But is that copyright, or is it permissible as an example for work I've done, so long as no money is being made from it? Do I need to state that photography wasn't original? (I'm not even sure now where I got them from!) I usually put a copyright label on my posted works to cover myself, but if the above described is permissible, then do I need to not use that copyright label as its not completely original? (because I have used some photographs from the net which have then been rearranged/edited/etc etc and incorporated into a design).
Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks!
Copyright is copyright. Whether you are making money off it or not is irrelevant (though, note that you ARE making money off of it as you're using it for promotional purposes).
For use in an in-class project? Likely no big deal in the grand scheme of things. But as part of your online portfolio? That could (even if unlikely) cause you some issues. I'd redo the work with properly licensed art.
So yes, your college was wrong. Also rather ironic ignoring intellectual property issues while educating people that will end up making a living with their IP. I'd ask for a refund.