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Author Topic: Using Pictures in Facebook Pages for "Inspiration" Without Permission  (Read 373 times)


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This is a fair use question. There are many Facebook groups where photographers and models meet to arrange unpaid noncommercial photo shoots for the fun of it. Often a visual concept is proposed by posting "inspiration" or "mood" images that are found on the Web and posted without permission of the photographer who owns their copyright. Is this fair use or infringement?

I am aware of the four factors considered in assessing fair use and have read cases cited in the Stanford and Copyright Office fair use indexes. I'm uncertain of the appropriate analysis, however. For example:

1. Purpose and character of the use. These inspiration photos are not for commentary or nonprofit education, nor are the images themselves transformed, but the new use is noncommercial and is transformed from the first publication use, it is for the purpose of fomenting new creative expression employing visual ideas in the pictures. Transformation of use not image was cited in one case. This factor appears to be neutral or weigh for fair use.
2. Nature of the copyrighted work. The pictures used are creative works of art. This factor weighs against fair use.
3. Quantity of the copyrighted work used. These are pictures. They are usually used in their entirety, not being cropped. This factor weighs against fair use.
4. Effect of the use on the potential market for the copyrighted image. I cannot see how the not-for-profit "inspiration" use could reasonably diminish the commercial value of the copyrighted works that are already published and publicly visible. Courts appear to emphasize this factor and consider most heavily whether the claimed fair use costs the owner revenue. So this factor weighs strongly in favor of fair use.

But I'm no lawyer, don't want to pretend to be on the Internets, and have just tried to read discussions of the factors and tried to understand summaries of adjudications of actual somewhat relevant cases because I haven't found a close parallel.

Advice, opinions and insights very greatly appreciated, thank you.


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