Still Image Copyright Question

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  • I found an image from a movie released last year that would be perfect on a poster advertising a sale coming up(for charity). If I put a little talking bubble onto the photo(so that the movie character advertises the sale), is this use a fair use? The sale will be conducted within the confines of a non-profit educational institution.

  • To determine whether your planned activity would be a fair use, it is advisable to complete a Fair Use Checklist which is available online at

    As you work through the Four Factors, you might need to consider the fact that your "Purpose" (Factor One) is "Profiting from the use" even though you are a non-profit institution. The bottom line is that you are using someone else's intellectual property to generate sales, no matter how noble or charitable the cause.

    As you consider "Nature" (Factor Two), it would make sense to select 'Highly creative work (art, music, novels, films, plays)', since you are considering using images from a recent movie.

    Having completed the checklist, you may wish to retain a copy in your files, in case your use is challenged in any way.

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