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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,653
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Sun Jan 12, 2003, 5:41pm
Subject: CoffeeGeek Forums and Copyrights.

Someone, via email, recently raised the (very valid) point about copyrights and our Terms and Conditions rules, as well as the rules of this Forum with regards to the posting of machine pictures, stills from movies, and the like. Something I've done, something many of you have done.

Not everyone has a knowledge of the term "Fair Use", and it is something not everyone can agree on it either :). But I will give the CoffeeGeek official version of what is considered Fair Use around here:

What is acceptable and 'Fair Use':

  • stills from video to emphasise or contrast a point or opinion, as long as the movie or video is accredited
  • quoted words (at most a few paragraphs] from books or other literature again to emphasise or contrast a point or opinion, again as long as the source is mentioned and noted.
  • photographs - this one is more sticky - if the photograph is a promotional photo, meant and intended by the copyright holder to promote a product or service, including logos, it is okay here as long as it is directly related to the posting and you do not give the impression that you own the copyright on that photo.

What is not acceptable as "Fair Use":

  • photographs presented as your property or work when it is not your work
  • photographs owned by others and used outside of the context of a posted opinion or discussion
  • photographs where the copyright holder has specifically prohibited 3rd party use without permission. This would include limited-use photographs or royalty free photographs not licensed by you for use
  • quoted text or words that are not attributed to the original author
  • quoted text or words that go outside the boundaries of your discussion or opinion
  • excessively quoted text or words (like for example an entire article, email, or pages from a book); including images of such work (eg, a jpg of a book page)
  • complete videos posted without permission (which you cannot do anyway due to the Forums' limitation on file sizes)
  • any other copyrighted material, including music, artwork, and the like without the copyright owner's express permission.

Basically, the term "Fair Use", which I believe is under attack these days, should stand for "common sense". Think of it in a scholarly sense - if a copyrighted material is needed to emphasise or make a point, a discussion or a debate, try to seek permission from the copyright owner where feasible; where it is not (eg, a movie still), always accredit the source, and use copyrighted material as minimally as possible. Posting a still is fine; posting a minute worth of video or 100 stills to emphasise a single point is not.

In terms of promotional things, like a studio shot of an espresso machine that the manufacturer provides to resellers, journalists, and other media sources, posting said photo here when discussing that machine is fair use. However, many vendors of espresso machines take their own pictures, and specifically prohibit the use of those photos outside of their own websites, and therefore are not acceptable in this forum. When in doubt, read their terms and conditions. If none are posted, send them an email asking permission. Many will be fine with posting it here, (but I sense they would ask for accredidation).

I've fallen victim myself to bluring the lines on fair use and doing "the right thing". It's a tough thing to call. I've screwed up before and will probably do so again in the future, but I usually try to err in the safe direction when my brain is working on most of its cylinders. I ask that all Forum participants do the same.

CoffeeGeek Senior Editor
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