RE: Screenshots of GUI: copyrighted?

Subject: RE: Screenshots of GUI: copyrighted?
From: Laura Lemay <lemay -at- lne -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 10:02:23 -0800

At 11:02 AM -0600 12/11/01, MMcCallister -at- ontrack -dot- com wrote:

Matt Floyd sayeth:
<<To my surprise, many third party titles did not contain
acknowledgements of permissions or even copyright information for the GUI
captures contained in the book...
It seems like a stretch of fair use to me to include screen elements on
every other page...>>

Acknowledged or not, I'd bet strongly that permissions were obtained.

You'd lose that bet.

I've been writing after-market computer books for about eight years now.
I'm very familiar with the industry. No one gets permissions for screen
shots. In fact, whether or not one needs permission for screen shots
is one of the larger thrashes that comes up again and again on the mailing
lists for computer books.

The answer is: there is no answer, not explicitly, not right now.

The resident copyright lawyer on those lists says that technically,
according to copyright law, you must get permissions for each and
every screen shot. So there's your technical answer.

According to most book contracts, it is the responsiblity of authors
to get permissions for all content owned by others that we use in our
books. Authors who have *attempted* to get permissions have either
been totally ignored, or have been told by company lawyers that GUI
snapshots are fair use and that permissions are not needed.

It is the opinion of some publishers, also, that GUI snapshots are
fair use, and they do not require their authors to even ask for

No author, that I know of, has ever been challenged by any company that
they have written about for the use of screen shots. There has never
been a test case. There's your defacto answer: not really an answer.

Note that this is for screen shots of GUIs. Screen shots of web sites
are different -- for that you absolutely need explicit written permission.
I have about a 80% hit rate for that, and I usually have to come
up with a few backup web sites to write about in case the ones I want to
use don't answer or don't agree to be used.

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RE: Screenshots of GUI: copyrighted?: From: MMcCallister

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