I'm trying to get the group-viewing-event into a blog post (I know, I'm like a month behind! I blame school...) and I want to include screencaps of the show in the blog post for visual references...

Is this legal to screen capture from Netflix to then post on the site? I'm not really concerned about one or two pictures, but I was planning on having at least 10 through out the 2 episodes of Star Trek we watched.


In the United States (the jurisdiction where Stack Exchange is located), you may make fair use of copyrighted material. The definition of fair use is fairly complex and mostly determined by jurisprudence rather than statue; the law stipulates that

the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

If your blog post is reviewing a work, then it falls under the heading of criticism or comment, and the inclusion of short extracts (such as a few movie stills) to illustrate the blog post is likely to be fine, given its low score on criteria #1 (the blog is not directly for profit), #3 (you are only posting a very short extract) and #4 (your extracts are not a substitute for the copyrighted work).

Of course, not being a lawyer, I cannot give you legal advice, so whatever you publish is your responsibility and not mine.

  • I read the link to the Wiki, but am still unclear. Can we publish pictures on the site? What about taking an image from some show -- Star Wars, for example -- to try and make a banner for the SciFi page? – Slytherincess Mar 3 '12 at 5:47
  • @Slytherincess It's impossible to give general rules. Ultimately these things are decided by a judge, if it comes to that. You can certainly publish pictures; the more directly relevant they are to what you're writing, the better chance they have to be fair use. For example, using a SW still as a background image for the site: no. Posting a SW still in a question where you ask about the events in the movie around that point: fine. – user56 Mar 3 '12 at 16:57

There's been some discussion of this previously. As far as it's application on this site, it's previously been more about individual panels from comic issues than screen caps from a live-action or animated work, but I don't really see a difference. For some examples, see:

IANAL, but it basically comes down to whether or not you personally believe that the work you're posting falls under Fair Use. It could get nasty if the copyright holder submitted a DMCA takedown (SE would likely remove the possibly-offending content and could find you in violation of the user agreement for the site) but as it stands there have been previous cases on this site already.

  • whats IANAL?? lol – OghmaOsiris Feb 27 '12 at 20:34
  • 4
    IANAL = "I am not a lawyer" -- Stunningly symmetric in it's way. – K-H-W Feb 27 '12 at 20:36
  • Add that to the META post on the abbreviations :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 1 '12 at 11:40
  • Along with NTBCAMA: Not To Be Construed As Medical Advice! It goes along with INAD: I'm Not a Doctor . . . – Slytherincess Mar 3 '12 at 5:28

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