RE: [Videolib] film stills for publication

Wed, 16 Feb 2005 08:54:42 -0500

I'll take this opportunity to remind folks that in the mid-
90s, Kristin Thompson wrote an investigative article on
the "fair use" of film stills. It was done for Cinema
Journal, but is now on the web at:

When the Eldred case was being heard by the Supreme Court, I
did a little spot-checking of online film journal
publications to contribute to an amicus curiae brief on
behalf of the plaintiff. My impression from editors is that
in the world of online film journalism--and especially among
those journals that appear only online--"fair use", rather
than permission clearance to use frame grabs, is more the
norm. Print publishers still appear to be more conservative
on this issue.


---- Original message ----
>Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2005 15:20:40 -0500
>From: "Jed Horovitz" <>
>Subject: RE: [Videolib] film stills for publication
>To: <>
>I too don't know of a commercial publisher who will invest
without a
>clearance in writing. That doesn't make it legally required
>The A&E Biography cases in NY established that using clips
in a documentary
>about the film or the genre or an actor in a film was a fair
use. How could
>the use of a still in a book about the film or the genre or
an actor not be?
>I think that publishers are part of the same copyright
cartel and don't want
>to rock the boat. As long as they can pass the effort and
expense off on
>the author, why should they?
>-----Original Message-----
>[]On Behalf Of
>Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2005 2:03 PM
>Subject: Re: [Videolib] film stills for publication
>> From: "Jed Horovitz" <>
>> As the (gasp) producer of "Rock and Roll High School
Forever" and
>> writer of
>> "Slumber Party Massacre Part II" I can only say, 'It is
about time
>> did a book on this important genre.' Heh, I had to eat.
>> Seriously, I think the best think to do is contact the
producers because
>> they will mostly be glad to provide stills.
>> If they can't be found, he should document that and try
pulling images
>> video. Sounds like a fair use to me.
>> Jed
>Just wondering Jed does anything NOT sound like fair use to
you ? I really
>have not kept up with the law on this but it is my
understanding that
>publishers require written clearance to cover their backs.
The only law case
>I followed was very odd one in which a very insistent rights
holder sued and
>won a judgement against VARIETY of all places for the
unauthorized use of a
>LAUREL & HARDY image. It is Kino's policy never to charge
for use of stills
>but I gather the going studio rate is around $250 per image.
There was a
>famous/infamous article that asserted that pulling images
from a film WOULD
>be covered but using standard issue publicity images would
not. Personally I
>think it is the other way round but other than the L& H thing
>( which was publicity image) I have not heard of any cases.
>Bottom line is that publishers are nervous so they want
written permission
>which in the case of the movies your friend is trying to
get, may be a real
>pain in the ass
>Videolib mailing list
>Videolib mailing list

Jeff Clark
Media Resources MSC 1701
James Madison University
Harrisonburg VA 22807 (email)
540-568-6770 (phone)
540-568-7037 (fax)
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