Google refused my app because app unauthorized use of copyrighted content. How is it possible that Rottentomatoes uses posters in their site and app? Do they pay for each poster? At which organization do I have to pay for posters?

I read a comment here, at some case someone are able to use covers/posters/screencaps under fair use. There are guidelines for fair use, namely the four factors judges are expected to consider in determining whether a use is fair use or not.

App using the material for criticism; not profiting yourself from your post, your use is unlikely to harm sales of the work; and for the screencaps at least, app reproducing only a very small portion of the movie.

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    To clarify, how are you attempting to load the images? Do you have them all in a database of your own, or are you attempting to load them off someone else's servers? Keep in mind that Rotten Tomatoes is owned and operated by the same company that runs Flixster (Fandango) which is where all its posters actually come from. They are a movie and TV distribution service, so it makes sense that they would also have the legal rights to also display movie posters, regardless of whether it's under fair use. Their case isn't entirely relevant to yours.
    – animuson
    Sep 16, 2016 at 2:46

1 Answer 1


The use you propose may be fair use. The only way to know for sure is to get sued and win or lose in court on a fair use defence.

Google, understandably, don't care. It's copyright material used without permission so they will not let you post your app.

As for Rotten Tomatoes, they do not need anyone else's permission: it's their web site. What they do may be (probably is) fair use, or they may have a licence.

  • Apple let me share my app through App Store, Google not (yet).
    – János
    Sep 15, 2016 at 14:50
  • @János Keep in mind that having your app in an app store is a privilege, not a right. The operating company can remove your app for whatever reason they want, even when it doesn't violate any laws or terms of use.
    – Philipp
    Sep 15, 2016 at 15:19
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    Apple either didn't notice, or checked and found that your use is likely authorised or legal or falls under "fair use", or decided for whatever reason that they can leave your app on their store until they get a DMCA notice. And their reasons for accepting your app can be right or wrong.
    – gnasher729
    Sep 16, 2016 at 12:41

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