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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Default Does a Screenshot Violate Copyright

    If I do a screen print of a video that is played online and use the image as illustration in a book, is it violating the copyright of the original video?

    What if I use photo editing to edit the screeshop to get a new image? such as change a photo into something with the effect of oil painting?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Key West, FL

    Default Re: Does Screenshot Violate Copyright

    Changing the screenshot in some way would make your book intellectually dishonest. Not a good idea and it would not protect you anyway.

    I would think what you want to do is fair use. If you did it on the web, and the publisher objected, you can simply take the image down. It isn't like you are duping the game and the publisher is losing money over it. Screenshots are used in game reviews all the time. Game publishers even send out trailers and clips, etc. to the media. Obviously you can not use that in a book but the intent of the publishers is to get publicity. How is anyone going to know anything about the game without screen shots?

    However, a book is much more permanent than a web page. If you are self publishing I would argue fair use, but you need to talk to a copyright attorney and get a formal opinion. That will cost. I am not giving you a legal opinion which is what you need.

    Now, if you are writing the book for a publisher, the publisher is not going to stick its neck out on an argument of fair use. The publisher will require that you have written releases from all the companies represented in your book for any graphic materials you might use.

    In the movie business, there is generally an entire book of documents for all the various rights and all the releases. Unless it is all done exactly right, no movie distributor is going to touch it. The same happens in the book business. Publishers are very risk adverse.

    So forget if you can get by with it. Start writing letters and sending proper releases to all the game companies.

    Besides all that, it seems rather pointless to write a physical book about an online game experience. And very few books actually make any money.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Toledo, OH

    Default Re: Does Screenshot Violate Copyright

    If I do a screen print of a video that is played online and use the image as illustration in a book, is it violating the copyright of the original video?
    Unless you're writing the book as a critique of that particular scene, yes. And even then, you're still likely to run afoul of Fair Use standards.

    If you intend to use a still from a video in a book, you really need to contact the copyright holder and get permission in writing to use it. (Typically, your publisher will insist on this anyway.)
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Does Screenshot Violate Copyright

    Digitally modifying a copyrighted work does not diminish the underlying copyright.

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