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I run a film and TV show reviewing blog using the Google Blogger service.

On this blog, I frequently use pictures taken from the film/episode/TV show that I am reviewing in the article.

The pictures that I use are always gathered by simply using the Google Image search to find a picture that suits my need. As such, the pictures come from a large variety of sources, including others peoples reviews, promotional material and even frames from advertisements.

Is the use of these images on my blog protected under Fair Use, regardless of the source of the original images? What about if I started earning money from my blog?

  • @nomenagentis The images are used predominantley to break up paragraphs, usually in someway related to the paragraph preceeding it - i.e. in my Ant Man review I praise Micheal Pena's performance, which is followed by a picture of him taken from the film. – Dr R Dizzle Jul 28 '15 at 14:59
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The UK copyright Act has the concept of "fair dealing" which is more restricted that the US concept of "fair use".

For your purposes, Section 30 appears to be applicable:

30 Criticism, review and news reporting.

(1) Fair dealing with a work for the purpose of criticism or review, of that or another work or of a performance of a work, does not infringe any copyright in the work provided that it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement and provided that the work has been made available to the public.

(1A) For the purposes of subsection (1) a work has been made available to the public if it has been made available by any means, including—

(a) the issue of copies to the public;

(b) making the work available by means of an electronic retrieval system;

(c) the rental or lending of copies of the work to the public;

(d) the performance, exhibition, playing or showing of the work in public;

(e) the communication to the public of the work,

but in determining generally for the purposes of that subsection whether a work has been made available to the public no account shall be taken of any unauthorised act.

For your reviews, you would need to properly attribute the source of the image that you were using and that source must be legitimate. If you can't find a clear legal pathway from the image you have to the actual copyright holder you could be in trouble (e.g. an image from someone else's blog where that image may have been uploaded illegally). Your best bet is to go to the studio concerned and use images from their official public releases with proper attribution.

  • Out of curiosity, I went and visited other, more established film review sites such as Empire and Den of Geek, and I couldn't see proper attribution in any of them. How often is this act actually enforced, and what are the penalties for breaking it? – Dr R Dizzle Jul 29 '15 at 8:04
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    Actually, not a good comparison, speeding is prosecuted by the state; copyright is a civil wrong against the copyright holder, it's up to them to seek redress. – Dale M Jul 29 '15 at 8:39

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