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Screenshots for tutorials

4:40 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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So this is probably easy to answer considering there are numerous examples all over the web but that doesn't mean its legal.

Any one know of any copyright issues around screenshots being used for the purpose of "how to" websites.

This would include capturing screenshots of applications and or software, highlighting parts of the image and providing text instructions.

4:54 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding of "Fair Use" is that if the screenshot is transformative and limited, you should be okay. If you're writing a lesson on how to execute a certain process in Excel, for instance, then a few screenshots to illustrate the process should be fine.

(Of course, it never hurts to post a notice, somewhere in your "fine print", that you are not affiliated with Microsoft, are not endorsing Excel, yadda, yadda, yadda.)

As long as the majority of the material is your own original content (being, for the purposes of this example, a "how to" article), you should be fine.

As far as I know.

But I'm not a lawyer.

6:06 pm on Aug 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for your feedback.
7:47 pm on Oct 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

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We have looked into the same issues with copyright for how to articles.

Microsoft had the exact line of text you need to use...

As far as we know this covers the legalities of using screenshots of their software. The copyright text is similar for most major companies and can be found on their official sites.

We have gone through the trouble of contacting microsoft US and Europe and got referred back to the text we are using now.

[edited by: rogerd at 10:55 pm (utc) on Oct. 10, 2009]
[edit reason] no URLs or specifics, please, per TOS [/edit]


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