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    Photos on youtube videos. Legal?
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    I'm wondering if all the videos using photos of products and other things on youtube are doing something illegal? They are sure monetized. Maybe a gray area? I know you can't use somebody's photo without permission. But I'm talking about photos released by a manufacturer. Like official photos of the iphone and other cell phones, of cameras, cars etc. Is this legal to use because the manufacturer releases the photos to the public, since they are publicity photos? Or are they all leaning on fair use? I know if somebody for example take photo of an iphone and post online, people need his permission to use the photo Even if he doesn't own the iphone rights. But he owns the photo rights. But how it works with publicity photos ?


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    Moderator Alex H.'s Avatar
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    For what purpose?

    “Fair Use” is a bit nuanced, but in the US it allows for certain uses in news reporting, criticism, and education without getting copyright permissions or paying royalties. It may not apply the same way where you are. You really do need to consult an attorney to get a reliable definition.
    Knoxville-based location sound mixer.

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    One thing is certain: "publicity photo" does not mean "public domain."
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    Senior Member puredrifting's Avatar
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    What you are talking about is a legal minefield. It's not for nothing that twenty years ago, intellectual property law became one of the hottest areas of specilization at law schools.
    Also, FWIW, most equipment manufacturers release publicity photos of their gear and are happy for anyone and everyone to use the heck out of them because it's free publicity and
    exposure for their products but that doesn't mean that you are legally protected to use them. If you use them and are slandering or talking trash about a product or company, that
    could be riskier than using them in a way that helsp or promotes the products image.

    That said, the Fair Use that Alex talks about, I have a friend who produced a documentary and after screening it, I was astounded by how much copyrighted material she boldly used
    under the guise of Fair Use. I used to do some clearances when I worked a production company and I guesstimated that if she would have licensed the footage she used in her documentary,
    it would have cost over a million dollars, easily in licensing fees, not to mention family/estate/heir permissions that could costs a fortune and performance licenses, and SAG/AFTRA and ASCAP/BMI
    fees for various things.

    She actually hired a legal firm that recognizes, analyzes and gives an endorsement for what filmmakers can safely use under Fair Use laws. She paid this firm perhaps $5,000.00 for this service.
    I thought it was a clever strategy for a no budget documentary, but this is all different than social media use like you are talking about. When in doubt, hire a lawyer. Trolling the Internet for anonymous
    advice from strangers about legal decisions that could potentially cost you everything you own is not a wise idea. Talk to an entertainment/intellectual property lawyer. Period.
    It's a business first and a creative outlet second.
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    Senior Member paulears's Avatar
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    Manufacturers generally will permit you to use their images, and often send you hi=res ones, once they know what they are for. Using them and 'assuming' they will be happy is just too risky. I've used this system on YouTube videos, and nobody refused, but two were just impossible to get responses from, so I took pictures myself of those ones.


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    I think there is no way those youtubers pay anybody $5000 for advice. And there is lots of critic and putting down too. For example videos about cars criticizing it for its flaws etc. Maybe because it's critic it falls straight and safe under fair use? I don't know. Slander is of course different. But I think criticize a product while analyzing it is what fair use is actually for? So to say the new iphone sucks because it is behind the competition or because it has not this or that feature or because it's ugly or whatever reason is fine. Talk bad about apple and make accusations etc is slander. But criticize the product is fair use and freedom of speech? Because youtubers are getting away somehow. I doubt if companies had a case to sue they would not sue. If they could they would stop the critics. There is this guy who flatout says Chevy is lying about the new corvette etc. He's very popular youtuber. Anyway the many channels are there, for years now. So I guess they didn't get sued. I doubt they take too much time to look. Some youtubers upload once a week or even everyday. It's a volume game if you want to make money. It's quick turn around. Maybe this case is more like news? Sure different from movies where you must clear everything.


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    Moderator Alex H.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJX View Post
    Maybe because it's critic it falls straight and safe under fair use? I don't know. Slander is of course different. But I think criticize a product while analyzing it is what fair use is actually for?
    Just to reiterate:

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex H. View Post
    You really do need to consult an attorney to get a reliable definition.
    Quote Originally Posted by puredrifting View Post
    Trolling the Internet for anonymous
    advice from strangers about legal decisions that could potentially cost you everything you own is not a wise idea. Talk to an entertainment/intellectual property lawyer. Period.
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    Not worth it paying to talk to a lawyer for that. It's not like I will do it myself. I'm merely curious how they are getting away with it. Because they are and I doubt they are paying lawyers. They not producing Hollywood movies. And honestly why the advice have to be tailored to you if they are all doing the same thing? I think there is such thing as general guidelines. No youtuber can afford to pay lawyers for this. It's not hollywood. ;) But I'm just curious if anybody knows how they are getting away. Just making conversation. This is what the off topic forum here is for right.
    Last edited by SJX; 02-11-2020 at 01:34 PM.


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    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJX View Post
    Not worth it paying to talk to a lawyer for that. It's not like I will do it myself. I'm merely curious how they are getting away with it. Because they are and I doubt they are paying lawyers. They not producing Hollywood movies. And honestly why the advice have to be tailored to you if they are all doing the same thing? I think there is such thing as general guidelines. No youtuber can afford to pay lawyers for this. It's not hollywood. ;) But I'm just curious if anybody knows how they are getting away. Just making conversation. This is what the off topic forum here is for right.
    Getting off topic and being a little pedantic, but you may want to clarify that, because there are "YouTubers" making $100K's to millions of dollars a year.


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    Moderator Alex H.'s Avatar
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    But you’re posing a question that can get dangerous to try and answer without legal credentials. Other people read these threads, and some of those believe anything they’ll read on the Internet.

    Yes, there are lots of YouTubers who use PR photos from product manufacturers. Are they simply getting away with it because they haven’t been caught or reported? Or does it qualify as fair use since they’re discussing merits and shortcomings of the products? Who knows for sure but an attorney?
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