Legal Question in Intellectual Property in New York
I am developing a website large website reviewing tablet computers. I will be running ad's for "Amazon Affiliates" "Best Buy Affiliates" possibly "Google Ad-sense" and what ever private deals and advertising I can work out with various individual vendors. My question involves Copyright's of images.
The way I am obtaining images i know is cloudy but i want to know if it's legal. I am taking a "screen freeze" of an image that i find is commonly used on dozens if not 100's of sites, then cutting out only the product (no background) making it a separate layer, making a new image out of it, with my own background, changing anything else i quickly can and putting an opaque text of my website's name across it. Then saving it as a new file. Being the photo is used on so many sites it feels safe, especially the fact that I'm changing it into a new file and altering it but in actuality i have no idea the legality of it. Adam
1 Answer from Attorneys
Use or modification of any image without permission is a copyright violation. In general, a journalist may be able to assert the defense of fair use if ever accused of copyright violation. However, such a defense cannot be asserted at this time and requires the careful review of an attorney.
The easiest solution is to approach the manufacturers of the pads and seek permission to use images of the product. Many times a press kit of a product will contain images for this purpose. The other solution is to take your own pictures of the device.
Feel free to contact my office if you need additional help.
Roman R. Fichman, Esq.
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