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We want to pull info and images from google’s places API for our travel website. We are trying to figure out if these images are able to be used or will we run into copyright issues? Thanks

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No

Those images are property of google and cannot be used without their (written) permission.

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  • Thanks for the comment. But if we signed up for the service and by default agreed to their terms is that equivalent? Also this is what is on their website implying we can use the photos – sagsal Feb 16 '19 at 14:01
  • Photos returned by the Photo service are sourced from a variety of locations, including business owners and user contributed photos. In most cases, these photos can be used without attribution, or will have the required attribution included as a part of the image. However, if the returned photo element includes a value in the html_attributions field, you will have to include the additional attribution in your application wherever you display the image. – sagsal Feb 16 '19 at 14:01
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    @sagsal not sure what you're trying to say. It doesn't matters at all if you agreed to anything just like you're not required to agree with laws in general. If you break them you can be in trouble. Copyright and intellectual property is a reality, no matter if you accept it or not. – Swizzler Feb 16 '19 at 14:54
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In general, such images are protected by copyright, and may not be used without permission, except to the limited degree that fair use applies (or fair dealing outside the US), which would not seem to fit the circumstances of the question. Google has a complex set of terms and permissions documents. These grant permission in limited circumstances to muse their content, which includes their images. What seem to be the relevant section included the following:

The google places policy says:

If your application displays data from the Places API on a Google Map, then the Google logo will be included and may not be altered. Applications that display Places API data on the same screen as a Google Map are not required to provide further attribution to Google.

If your application displays data from the Places API on a page or view that does not also display a Google Map, you must show a Powered by Google logo with that data. For example, if your application displays Places API data on one tab, and a Google Map with that data on another tab, the first tab must show the Powered by Google logo.

The Google Maps Platform FAQ says:

You may not access the maps or satellite images through any mechanism besides the Google Maps Platform (such as the creation of your own mapping API or the use of a bulk tile download script). Your application's access to the tiles will be blocked if it accesses them outside of the Google Maps Platform. See the Google Maps Platform Terms of Service for more details.

and

You may not store and serve copies of images generated using the Maps Static API from your website. All web pages that require static images must link the src attribute of an HTML img tag or the CSS background-image attribute of an HTML div tag directly to the Maps Static API so that all map images are displayed within the HTML content of the web page and served directly to end users by Google.

The Google Maps/Google Earth Additional Terms of Service says

Subject to your compliance with this Agreement's terms, Google grants you a non-exclusive, non-transferable license to use Google Maps/Google Earth, including features that allow you to: ... publicly display Content with proper attribution online, in video, and in print ...

and

When using Google Maps/Google Earth, you may not ... copy the Content (unless you are otherwise permitted to do so by the Using Google Maps, Google Earth, and Street View permissions page or applicable intellectual property law, including "fair use"); ... do anything inappropriate, illegal, or in violation of others' rights (including their privacy, publicity, and intellectual property rights).

The Google Maps & Google Earth Guidelines say:

Generally speaking, as long as you’re following our Terms of Service and you’re attributing properly, you can use our maps and imagery

and

All uses of the content must provide attribution to both Google and our data providers. We require clear, visible attribution when the content is shown.

and

... you may export an image from Google Earth or Earth Studio to add custom labels or graphics using third-party software.

It is clear that the above allows displaying an unaltered image within a google maps or google places display, which can be embedded in a web site. It seems that, as long as proper attribution is preserved, images may be displayed outside of a google maps display, although not on the same page or in connection with any non-google map. (It is very clear that any display must fully preserve and make visible at all times the full attribution info supplied by Google.) However this is not nearly as clear. You may well want to consult a lawyer, or ask for clarification directly from Google.

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  • Much appreciated for the comprehensive and very helpful answer – sagsal Feb 17 '19 at 1:48

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