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Thread: Copyright Issues on Images in Reviews

  1. #1
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    Copyright Issues on Images in Reviews

    Hi guys,

    I hope anyone here can help me!

    I'm busy building a website portal about local nightlife and general information about what's happening in South Africa, something like a online directory for businesses and new. But I would also like to include a section called "Reviews" where I would like to feature reviews of latest movies that hit the big screen and DVD's. I have someone who'll be doing the actual copywriting but my questions is regarding the images I would want to use for each review - images taken either from each movie's official website or as screenshots from the DVD. Can I do that? Or do I need anyone's permission? Can I just have a clause in my privacy policy that all images used in every movie and DVD review are copyrighted by their original owners (the movie distributors)?

    It's a tricky question! Take the movie 300 for example. If I write a review of it can I just go to it's official website and take any of the images there? Maybe add a little copyright note at the bottom of the review page "All images copyrighted 300"? Or must I contact them for permission? Isn't that going to take time and cost me something?

    I appreciate any help!
    Last edited by Dave A; 04-Nov-09 at 05:59 PM.

  2. #2
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    I'm not 100% sure, but I suspect that you can use the images that they have under "Media -> Photo Gallery". I reckon that those are provided particularly for magazines, websites, and so on. It might be worth your while to browse around Warner Brothers website a bit and see if you can find some sort of policy on this, or drop them an email-I'm sure they would be happy with you advertising for them

    I'm trying to find out a bit more, but haven't got anything conclusive yet. Know anyone with a similar website to yours that you could contact? Might also be a good idea to contact Nu Metro or Ster Kinekor, as they probably own the rights to usage in South Africa.

    You could also take a look at a site like IMDB and try to figure out what their policy is (300 on IMDB).

    Oh, and also, there may be some sort of general rule as to the size of the image. Putting up hi-res images that can be downloaded may not be okay, but low res (screen display) may be okay.
    Last edited by Dave A; 04-Nov-09 at 05:59 PM.
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  3. #3
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    The copyright notice of the source page/website applies. If there is no copyright notice, convention has it to post a link to the source. The challenge is that your source site might have published illegally and you are still open to a lawsuit.

    Truth be told, the internet is full of copyright contraventions. Some of them quite contraversial. For example, every now and then Google is faced with having to defend their caching of websites - lately predominantly from European newspapers. Google relies heavily on the fact that you can request for Google not to cache your site, but of course, then they don't index it either

    Another recent legal challenge has been mounted against YouTube, from one of the big movie companies as I recall.

    In another example, for this site I took the precaution of getting permission to reproduce news items from our news feeds which we're allowed to do as long as we don't reproduce the entire article and do post a link to the source article. This is a fairly common arrangement which on most news sites is buried in their fineprint somewhere on their site.

    I would suggest getting authorisation for the publication of images from either the movie company or the local distributors. Who knows, you might get permission to flight trailers

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