If I appear in a video wearing a shirt with a copyrighted image on it, is that a violation?

What about if the artwork is being used as an illustration? For example, if I'm doing a video tutorial on painting, and use a painting someone else has done to illustrate a point, or as example of a particular method.

  • The United States copyright law says copyright owners have an exclusive right to preparation of derivative works. I think that includes things like a movie based on a novel. So maybe this depends on whether the video is considered a derivative work. But as mentioned elsewhere, there's also such a thing as fair use. Jan 30, 2016 at 3:31

1 Answer 1


Yup, copyright statutes and case law cover these situations.

In Canada, look at at Copyright Act Section 30.7:

It is not an infringement of copyright to incidentally and not deliberately

(a) include a work or other subject-matter in another work or other subject-matter; or

(b) do any act in relation to a work or other subject-matter that is incidentally and not deliberately included in another work or other subject-matter.

The US doesn't have this in statute, but some defendants used a fair use defence, some successful, some not. (http://www.iposgoode.ca/2010/04/cindy-incidentally-the-incidental-inclusion-exception-in-canadian-copyright-law/)

If you're using a piece of art as part of a tutorial, or being illustrative of a point, or subject of commentary, review, or criticism, that may be fair use or fair dealing.

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