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Author Topic: Fair Use Clause and International Law
Euripides
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This may be my first mayfly.

If I were to publish a film review online, would I be allowed to include screen captures from a legally purchased DVD?

I'm thinking maybe 2 or 3 screenshots, and I would include a notice at the bottom of the page with the copyright details of the movie.

From the US copyright act:

quote:
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—

1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

Since the film review would be non-profit criticism without the intent of superseding the use of the original work (actually, it would be advertising for the film), it seems to me like the fair use clause applies.

That said, I wonder if there are any technicalities about screen captures in the first place, and I have to wonder why very few websites have their own original screen captures.

And another related question: while copyright law in Australia and the US are very similar, when I publish something written here on an American server, I have to comply with the copyright laws of both countries, right?

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Mucus
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Not a lawyer, but I've noticed that Wikipedia has pretty big debates about fair use and what exactly can be used and where.

Maybe start by looking at the template here here and then to the linked discussion page?

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B34N
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It used to be pretty hard to get stills from a DVD without going through a whole lot of crap but now days its so easy with the free little tools out there. To answer your question it is a violation of Copyright but if you are not making any money off of it I am pretty sure you don't have to worry about a law suit and if you are giving a possitive review of the films I can almost guarantee the filmmaker, distributor and what not involved in the film's production won't care. [Smile]

If you find that this violates your own ethical beliefs than the best thing to do is find out who exactly owns the copyright for the movie ont he DVD and contact them explaining in detail what you are doing and why. Since your not making any money off of it and you hopefully will be giving a positive review of the film you may find that they will allow you to use the stills. If you get no response at least you can say that you tried to contact the copyright owner before you posted the pics. [Big Grin]

Hope that helps, I am not a lawyer bu thave taken a number of courses from lawyers in entertainment law so I do know what I am talking about but in no way take this is hard fact. As mentioned above you can do some research into the matter on your own to make sure everything I said is on the level. [Wink]

Edited: The two posts below are more on target, I didn't read the whole post just the part about using the stills and copyright.

[ January 07, 2007, 02:41 AM: Message edited by: B34N ]

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Edgehopper
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Generally, if it's for criticism and you're not using more than a short clip or screenshot, you're in the clear, even if you do make a profit (assuming you properly credit the source). I am a law student, I've taken Trademarks and Patent but not Copyright, but the fair use principles are similar.

I don't know the international law rule, but you're safer just following the law of both countries. They're probably pretty much the same on this issue.

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fugu13
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Two or three screenshots would be more than fine for commentary. Far more than that has been held to be protected (with novels and the like; I'm not aware of any cases about tv show screenshots in commentary, probably because the studios would know they'd lose, and badly). Profit is okay; in fact, profit is usually one of the least considerations when determining fair use (though lack of profit is often a consequence of other considerations, such as being for classroom use).

Edgehopper -- oddly, the fair use principles are only superficially similar. Because each is intended to secure a very different sort of right, the sorts of protected uses of each are derived from different principles.

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Edgehopper
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<quote>Edgehopper -- oddly, the fair use principles are only superficially similar. Because each is intended to secure a very different sort of right, the sorts of protected uses of each are derived from different principles.</quote>

Of course, but the criticism exception comes from a freedom of speech principle both for trademarks and copyright. While confusion-based infringement is a lot different, dilution-based trademark infringement looks an awful lot like copyright infringement, and is based on closer principles.

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Euripides
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Thanks everyone. B34N, so taking stills is copyright infringement in itself?

Mucus, by discussion page did you mean this one?

I'm willing to bet that I won't get sued, but I don't want to do it if it's illegal. And I know that fair use is just a defence/justification, and doesn't protect me from a lawsuit should the copyright holder decide to go after me. The way it looks to me now, publishing the stills doesn't seem to be a problem, but maybe capturing screens is an issue.

(My DVD player software actually has a 'capture' button though)

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fugu13
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Well, nothing protects you from the existence of a lawsuit if they decide to go after you, still or no stills.

IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer), but the usage of two or three screenshots in a film review falls well within accepted fair use guidelines in the US and Australia as far as I understand them (which is moderately well). Even some small instances of musical 'sampling' in non-parody new works have been upheld as protected; this is moderately parallel along some important dimensions, and an improvement in several.

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Euripides
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Thanks fugu. [Smile]
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Shan
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You'd figure publicity is publicity . . . if nothing else, would linking to stills on their site, fully cited of course, be acceptable?
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Euripides
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Probably, though I'd rather omit them if I can't actually include the picture in the review.

Well, I know the reason so few websites include film stills; it's not easy to capture them off DVDs. The 'capture' button I found on my player software won't take any. Perhaps there is a digital rights law preventing it...

Unless anyone here knows an easier, legal way to capture stills (without using that dodgy old screen capture shareware on cnet) I'll just forget about stills.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Euripides:

Mucus, by discussion page did you mean this one?

Well, I actually meant the discussion page for the page in question at Template_talk:Film-screenshot , which would give a bit more targeted information. But that looks helpful too
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fugu13
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Well, there's plenty of non-dodgy screen capture software available, but I'm only familiar with what's useful for the mac. You could just try taking a screenshot, too, then cropping it as appropriate (you might even have an option for a one-window screenshot).

And there's always a digital camera. Get the lighting conditions pretty decent and be using an LCD monitor and it should turn out fine.

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Euripides
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Thanks Mucus. Didn't see the link.

fugu, I'd be glad to know what works in OSX. I have access to a mac, and I fully intend to make the switch when I can afford a macbook pro.

As for using a camera, meh.

<-- Anal retentive about image fidelity

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fugu13
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Unless you're playing a number of games or doing significant video editing, there's little meaningful difference between the Macbook and Macbook Pro, so you might consider the savings worth the downgrade in vid card.

Okay, I just verified this works: watch the DVD in VLC (windowed mode), then use Grab (its in the Utilities folder) to do a window capture. It might take a little fiddling to get VLC to play the DVD (if you go to Open Disc, the defaults should be fine, so click okay, then fiddle around with the play button and the timeline until it starts playing).

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Euripides
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Thanks so much fugu. I will try that in the morning - correction - later this morning.

I do 3D modelling (Maya etc.), so I'll need to get the Pro.

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MidnightBlue
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If you're using a PC I imagine pausing the movie where you want it and hitting the Print Screen button would also work. Then you'd have to open a new document in Photoshop, Paint, probably even Word would work, and paste it there.
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Euripides
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No that doesn't, unfortunately. There is inbuilt protection which makes the part of the screen showing the movie transparent.
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