Suppose I made a commentary video about SpongeBob. Would using an image of SpongeBob in the thumbnail be considered fair use in this case?

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    Keep in mind that the content policies of video platforms can be stricter than what the law says. Just because something doesn't break federal copyright law does not mean that a privately owned platform is obligated to host it. If a video platform says "We don't care about fair use; if you use an image copyrighted by one of our partners, we take your video down", then that's within their right.
    – Philipp
    Jul 19, 2022 at 9:25

1 Answer 1


Most likely, as it seems to meet the standards of:

  • Relationship to the whole (small part of the animation)
  • Effect on value of the copyrighted word (likely negligible effect)
  • Purpose and character - commentary, uniquely identifying the subject of the commentary.

The outstanding portion to be considered, nature of the copyrighted work, as a work of fiction targeted at children, is not in your favor (you aren't trying to copy a phonebook, for example), but given the other factors, should not weigh heavily enough against you to cause problems.

That said, fair use might not be enough to protect against a copyright bot, so modifying the image to show context of this as a commentary would probably be beneficial in more than one way.

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