About Fair Use: Stating the Facts
This isn't official advice from a lawyer, but after reading articles/reports about varying court decisions, it doesn't take a lawyer to see that loosely-enforced copyright laws regarding "fair use" are clear as mud. Supposedly, it is legal to photograph and film people without their permission, but only as long as they aren't the sole focus of the content. Ultimately, legality becomes an issue when the intentions and effects/results of content use cause damages or losses to the rightsholder(s). Someone else's copyright image(s) or exhibits are not the main part of this article. The factual captions below the images attempt to demonstrate various ways to (without needing permission) fairly use copyright images and other content for your articles.
In report writing, it is generally understood that each sentence, paragraph, and/or claim should be looked at individually and written credibly as a fact. For example, explicit permission is not required to fairly and simply state the fact that author Jane Friedman, and creator of article, A Writer’s Guide to Permissions and Fair Use, said, “you have to consider, for each use, whether or not it’s necessary to seek explicit, legal permission from the work’s creator or owner,” however; the writer’s guide and author, were still referenced/stated in "good faith" and credited. An italicized note said, “Remember that crediting the source does not remove the obligation to seek permission.” When something might not fall into the fair-use category, then experts agree to seek permission(s).
Is the content being stated as a fact? Titles, names, companies, and places are facts. When presented, interpreted, and credited, things other people said and their images also become stated facts for others to include and further analyze. Scribbling your name on someone else's work (claiming it’s yours) is lying, illegal, and unfair. Legal fair use is to identify/reference someone else and their work (attribution) and then (with your name) add more/do extra work to interpret it (commentary/criticism and/or parody of copyright material for a limited and transformative purpose).
Try to find examples of how others widely use the same content or same type of content. Businesses have different stances, however; since it can be difficult and expensive to follow up every case, as long as an instance doesn't become the company's biggest problem, there probably won’t be a lawsuit filed, however; by fairly crediting sources, and being a team player, it is easier to earn industry respect. The Associated Press said, "You are solely responsible for determining whether or not "fair use" or similar doctrines apply in various jurisdictions and/or whether any permissions, licenses, clearances and/or releases are required in connection with any proposed use of the Content. If You are unsure, You are responsible for contacting competent legal counsel." Do not source from uncredited photos/media or steal paid stock photo content. Some free stock photos that usually do not require attribution are available on sites such as Pexels and MorgueFile. Also visit the Creative Commons search page for seemingly limitless amounts of more free content, often with no attribution requirements from CC image sites like Pixabay, ClipSafari, and Flickr.
Links updated: 2020-01-02
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