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  1. #1
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    Fair Use in website context

    Hi,

    I have ended up looking at the idea of “fair use” as I am redesigning my site. I want to put some logos on there os all the software, languages, etc I use. So, it got me wondering:

    1. Could I use, for example, the Photoshop logo on my about page under the heading “Software” and it be considered fair use?

    2. If I post a tutorial and use a screenshot of Google Analytics, what about that too?

    I live in the UK, by the way. I appreciate people cannot give legal advice but opinions are welcome.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Good question.

    Based on the information in this article, Fair dealing in United Kingdom law, it looks like what you want to do would fail the test of fair dealing, and would therefore not be allowed. (The situation might be different in the US, where the fair use laws are more liberal, but as you are a UK resident, it is UK law that you need to worry about.)

    Personally, I would not worry about using the screen shot of Google Analytics (provided it did not reveal any confidential information, of course; but that's got nothing to do with copyright). I've written hundreds of articles about software and programming tools that included screen shots of the products, and never had any issues with copyright; many of these have been published in mass-circulation magazines and newspapers, and have presumably been OK's by the publishers' legal departments.

    In any case, you won't go to jail if you get this wrong. In the unlikely event of the copyright owner getting upset, their first action will be to request that you remove the offending screen shot. Provided you comply promptly, it's highly unlikely they will take any further action.

    However, I would be more cautious about the Photoshop logo. In that case, Adobe could conceivably claim that you were passing yourself off as an agent or employee of the firm, and could take action against you on that basis. One way to guard against that would be to include a disclaimer to the effect that you have no connection with the company, but it would be simpler not to include the logo in the first place.

    Mike



  3. #3
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    Thanks for that. Great link by the way and, yes, it would seem you cannot do any of the above (i.e. it isn't “for the purposes of non-commercial research or study, criticism or review, or for the reporting of current events”). Like yourself, I have been using screenshots for years especially in tutorials. It's hard to imagine Adobe suing someone for publishing materials that are helping others learn their software. I was interested in what was actually legal though and you have helped identify that.

    So in the UK, pretty much everything is illegal without getting express consent. Things such as a screenshot of your OS X or Windows desktop and, say, creating one of those PDF icons that uses the Adobe PDF icon. I guess in writing a tutorial it could be argued that you're reviewing its capabilities and therefore all screenshots are considered fair use..

    Good point regarding the Adobe logo…I have done a bit more research myself and as far as logos are concerned you just need to check with each company.

    Adobe: http://www.adobe.com/misc/linking.html (Under “ADOBE PRODUCT ICONS” I find this ambiguous, what is your take on it?)
    PHP: http://php.net/download-logos.php (Fine to use)
    MySQL: http://www.mysql.com/about/legal/trademark.html (Fine but must link back to their site and annoyingly the logo has “Powered by” or “Includes” on it)
    JQuery: http://jquery.org/about/ (Fine to use)
    HTML 5: http://www.w3.org/html/logo/ (Fine to use)
    CSS 3: Can't find a logo
    JavaScript: Can't find a logo

    Do you think it's reasonable then that whenever using a screenshot just add some small print saying who owns the software, that I am not affiliated with them?

    EDIT: What is the law in creating icons based on protected brands. Take this icon, for example:

    http://www.iconspedia.com/icon/andro...hop-16-15.html

    It may be a unique work in that is was created from scratch. However, it clearly resembles the Adobe Photoshop logo. Is that legal? There are hundreds of these “copies” around just on the PDF logo/icon alone.

  4. #4
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    So in the UK, pretty much everything is illegal without getting express consent. Things such as a screenshot of your OS X or Windows desktop and, say, creating one of those PDF icons that uses the Adobe PDF icon.
    Well, there are quite a few things that you can do that come under the heading of "fair use" in the UK, but none of them seem to apply to your case. That said, you see screen shots of, say, the Windows desktop all over the place. As far as I know, Microsoft have never objected to this. In the unlikely event that they ever decide to take action, it's a safe bet that they wouldn't start suing people wholesale. At the very least, they would announce their change of policy, and give the alleged offenders time to do something about it. But it's highly unlikely that it would ever come to that.

    Do you think it's reasonable then that whenever using a screenshot just add some small print saying who owns the software, that I am not affiliated with them?
    It certainly can't do any harm. There's no need to make it too prominent. A simple caption in 9 pt type near the image should be enough.

    Take this icon, for example: http://www.iconspedia.com/icon/andro...hop-16-15.html It may be a unique work in that is was created from scratch. However, it clearly resembles the Adobe Photoshop logo. Is that legal?
    I would say that particular example wouldn't be legal in the UK. Nor would many of the others in that collection. The IMDb logo, for example, is clearly the trademark of a commercial entity.

    Regarding the other examples you quoted, things like HTML and PHP are sort of open source - I don't mean that literally, but they are not trademarks of a commercial enterprise, so their licensing is likely to be more permissive. But I'm not sure about that.

    To summarise, I would avoid any logo that is obviously a commercial trademark. For the other things you mentioned, you'll be reasonably safe to go ahead, but be prepared to remove anything in the unlikely event that the copyright owner asks you to do so.

    Mike

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    Thans for your help. I'll probably err on the side of caution and leave the logos out altogether but carry on with the screenshot—and include a simple disclaimer.

    I wish I was one of those people that didn't worry about everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrQuincy View Post
    Thans for your help.
    You're welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrQuincy View Post
    I wish I was one of those people that didn't worry about everything.
    Better than going to other extreme.

    Mike


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