Legal Question in Intellectual Property in Texas

Copyright on These Images?

I am starting up a web based video sales business that specializes in niche videos (i.e., not entertainment titles, not that it matters).

A competing site uses screenshots captured from the video in its listings. Other than sizing the image for use on their site, they don't invest any creativity into the images - they are just straight captures from a random point in the video. I assume this is ''fair use'' on their part, but that's a different discussion.

I also need to display screenshots for the videos.

Can I just take the competing site's images and use them? I'd probably resize them and add a drop-shadow, but otherwise my images would appear to be from the very same frame of the video. It seems to me that since they captured them directly from the playing video, they don't really have an ownership interest in them... Am I wrong?

Asked on 3/11/09, 1:30 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Johm Smith tom's

Re: Copyright on These Images?

It sounds like what you both would be doing is illegal use; it isn't fair use because you're trying to make money from it. That doesn't necessarily mean that anyone will complain to you and you may be authorized to do this by your source for the videos, but it would be safer to use the cover of the video instead.

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Answered on 3/11/09, 5:13 pm

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