Can I Use the Photo I Found on the Internet Without Infringing Copyright

+10 votes

Yesterday, July 5, 2018, the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, issued an opinion in the case ''Brammert v. Violent Hues Productions,'' Civil Action No. 1-17- cv-01009, stating that the use of a photo taken from the internet and re-posted on another site was "fair use" and that use was not a violation of the photographer's copyright.  Everyone expects that the decision will be appealed. 

You can find a good article about the opinion HERE.

The seven page decision is HERE.

Judy G. Russell's very good analysis of the opinion in the Legal Genealogist is HERE.

(7/16 Added link to Judy Russell's article.)

in Policy and Style by Vic Watt G2G6 Pilot (335k points)
edited by Vic Watt
Thanks for sharing that. The article is very informative and was worth the read. Although for your post, I'd recommend against phrasing the title as a question in a Q&A forum as you have: it feels a bit like click bait.

3 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer

Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, warns against over interpreting this very specific judgment :

by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (817k points)
selected by Peter Mulligan
+7 votes
I can see this riling up a number of people. I have to say that I agree with the law firms title

 "No, Virginia, You Can’t Just Copy Stuff You Find On the Internet, Even if You Don’t Notice the Copyright Notice.” David Kluft, with Foley Hoag
by Mindy Silva G2G6 Pilot (871k points)
I too, like the law firm's title!

It will likely be appealed. The judge seems woefully unaware of copyright law. There are so many flaws in the arguments used in the opinion. Basically, he is pretty much throwing copyright law out the window for photography and this was for a work registered with the copyright office, not just taking the default case.

This is a fairly narrow ruling on this one case in one district so people shouldn't assume that they can post things. If a copyright case goes against you, the typical fine is $150,000.00. At least this is what I was told by a lawyer who should know.
+2 votes
It is easy to ask permission to use pictures on Find a Grave because they are all posted. Many have no info to use to gain copyright permission. I have posted on some sites that the pic I have used is without permission and permission is requested from the owner.

I have no idea if this is legal. It just sounded right to me. Comments, pleased.
by Claudia Scarbrough G2G6 Mach 2 (26.0k points)
From a legal perspective, I don't think that would cover you since you don't actually have permission. Do you also give a full source citation for the image?

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