News images, copyrights, fair trade do's and don'ts

Hi everyone,

I recently finished and launched a project, an online gaming community/news site and have some questions regarding getting access to images to use in the articles. The implementation of a news section was a last minute call in the development process and the journalism aspects and do’s and don’ts is unfamiliar grounds for me.

Hence why I am wondering what I can do and can’t do regarding to copyright related concerns. As mentioned, the main audience is gamers from all around the world and therefore I will report articles related to happenings in the world of gaming presented with a maximum of three images.

So my question is, how can I find images to use in the articles? I am aware of that most of the game developers has “press corners” on their official websites where there are images and fact sheets available. Am I allowed to use these images freely along with articles on my site due to the fact that they are pretty much available for everyone to find and download? Is that regarded as fair use?

Worth to be mentioned is that I will also present different games on the site for it’s main functionality as a gaming community, each game has their own game page and is presented with basic facts and three images. I understand that using images in these pages require permissions from the developer/publisher since I want everything to be done legally. The site is non-commercial, ads and a donate function is available though.

I’m not sure how to proceed and I’m honestly very confused about the deal with fair trade and copyrights right now. Any advice to clear things out is very appreciated. I’m not including any link to the site so that this won’t be regarded as self-promotion so ask me if anything is unclear and I’ll try to explain in more detail.

The basic principle is that any material that you create yourself (eg writing, drawing, taking photographs) is yours to use as you want.

Any material that someone else has created is under copyright to its creator. That means that you can only use it with their permission. They may give blanket permission on their website, or you may have to contact them directly to ask for permission. There may be conditions attached (eg payment, source acknowledgement) or there may no – but it’s down to them to choose.

Most countries also have a concept of fair use (link is very US-centric), which allows some usage of copyrighted material without explicit permission, but this depends very much on the circumstances. If you are not intending to make money from using the images, and the person who created the images doesn’t make money from selling or licensing them, it’s usually better just to ask their permission.

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Ok, so far so good.

So considering the available press kits which are pretty much open for the public to download, am I allowed to use assets acquired from those in the purpose of news articles? Because that is what they are meant for, right?

And I will also present multiple games with basic facts and a maximum of three images for the cause of the sites main functionality, completely objective. So basically I will not be making any money on the images themselves.

I have mailed several PR sections on different companies but without any response hence why I am asking here…

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