View Full Version : images and copyright

08-16-2007, 10:49 PM
I have a personal website where I write articles on webdesign and some of the tricks I have learned with web design. I also have several other pages where I write reviews of anime. It is only for my own personal interest and as such does not get many visitors which is fine with me. I have three questions dealing with copyright however.

1. My banner is a screenshot from one of those shows. I cropped it and edited it to fit on the screen and overlayed it with the name of my site. This was to give the site a bit of color as opposed to a text layout.

2. The shows reviewed have about 6 images taken from them that are used to demonstrate the art style used and the quality.

3. I found a script that was free for use that would allow the website owner to search his site. I have since edited and improved upon it greatly so that it is about 10 times larger than before and far more powerful. The guts of the program have been 99% replaced so that It would actually be difficult to find anything of the original program in it. If anything remains it is maybe one or two short lines. How much can a file be altered and still be considered someone else's?

Thanks for reading.

08-17-2007, 05:02 AM
1. This is fine, it is fair use for the purpose of review (commentary).

2. See 1.

3. One of the rights of the copyright holder is the right to restrict derivative works. You've made a derivative work.

Only if 100% of the code was replaced could you claim it as your own. So do that last 1%.

08-17-2007, 10:42 AM
ok, I will come through it and find that last 1% and change it. You seem to know a fair amount about the law in some of the other posts that I have read. I tried to find out a bit more about your background and read that you were or are a consultant for sitepoint. Where does your background come from?

My banner falls under the fair use? I would have figured not. I hope you don't mind, but I would like to post a link to my website (no longer up) so that you can see the banner. I will probably remove the link after you look at it though as I am not all that interested in advertising my website at present ;).

08-17-2007, 05:25 PM
Fair use is governed by a few core principles.

1. What percentage of your use compared to the whole.
2. Does your use result in lower revenue for the copyright holder.

The main examples given for #1 are usually a line from a poem, or a paragraph from an article.

In your case you're using a single screenshot that is 1/30th of a second in length from a 22-30minute cartoon. That is a very small percentage.

Then 2, does your use hurt their income? Not at all.

Also protected are the use of images when used in conjunction with a review or critique. For instance if you want to write a movie review and include a picture of a scene from the movie, you never need permission.

Of course, just because you're in the right, doesn't mean you're immune to a lawsuit. Someone can still sue you, you'll just likely win. However after paying a lawyer's bill in 5 figures you won't feel like you've won.

In anycase, the chance of that happening is incredibly slim, and you would almost always get a C&D letter first.

My background? I'm no lawyer if that is what you're asking, I've taken business law courses but thats it. I've just been doing this a long long time and have researched such topics (or ended up asking my own lawyer about them) in the past.

09-06-2007, 06:54 AM
Although I am not a lawyer, I have to add that fair use is not a right, it's a defense. Also, it won't hold up if your site is monetized. In my understanding, commercial use negates fair use.