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Okay I'm going to be started a web design gallery that feature the best looking websites around.
These are very popular and I was just wondering (because I often get paranoid) what are the legal issues about screenshots.
Are there any legal issues with this? These type of sites run smoothly and I haven't run across any issue (I mean it is free promotion).
So is it right or wrong? Will I be facing anything?
Thanks for your time.
But to some extent, it would depend on exactly what you did with it.
Copyright law is a rarity in that it specifically looks at your intention, rather than leaving that to the court to decide; so, for example, a screenshot for 'review purposes' would almost certainly (but not 100%!), be OK.
Point of interest, copying for the purpose of giving them free promotion (without specific agreement to do so) would NOT be fair use, in any circumstances; because you do not own the work, the decision to promote, fee-free or not, is simply not yours to make.
BTW I'm not a lawyer etc., etc.
[edited by: Quadrille at 2:55 am (utc) on Nov. 1, 2007]
Yes, the whole point of the site is to review their work and people can rate designs etc. and get inspired to design well (not copying though).
By promotion, I meant that it's kind of a result of reviewing (people would probably hit the site and check out the good design).
It's not my intent but will likely occur.
The slight concern is that from their POV,
(a) people would be using their bandwidth, and would be unlikely to be using their services, so the visitors may not be at all welcome.
(b) while you may not be suggesting or encouraging people to copy, people may do that - and that is a legitimate fear.
You are giving them a 'mention', and also perhaps a link; while you clearly perceive this is of value (and I might too!), you cannot assume that they will.
If it was my site, I'd email them with the intention, and a link to a sample review, as well as domain.com; this gives them the option of declining before you've done a lot of work. Keep a copy!
Most, I suspect will ignore it, some may ask to see the final page before publication, others may demand conditions, yet a few may tell you not to proceed.
Dealing with that may be frustrating and a headache, but may protect you from trouble later.
However, if they seek to impose conditions, my feeling would be to move on!
It will look like pretty much any other CSS gallery. Except visitors can rate designs (or review them by leaving comments though I'm honestly not sure if I will add this because a lack of reviews might make the site look like it isn't visited even if it is).
Obviously if a site has a problem with it I would probably take it down.
I think it's feasible to go before you ask, and if you're very concerned with any legal risk, just give them an option for "not being reviewed". I would ignore all these requests. :P