An article over at PetaPixel.com reports on an outrageous Virginia Federal Court decision that finding a photo on the Internet and using it without permission on a commercial website can be considered fair use.
In the United States, whether or not the use of copyrighted material without permission can be considered fair use (17 U.S. Code § 107) depends on four main factors: (1) the purpose and character of the use (including whether it’s “transformative” and commercial vs. non-commercial), (2) the nature of the copyrighted work, (3) how much of the work is used, and (4) how much the use affects the market and/or value of the work. The video above explains fair use and this decision in more detail.
Stephen Carlisle, the copyright officer of Nova Southeastern University, has written up a lengthy rebuttal of the opinion and writes that the ruling passed down on June 11th, 2018, is one that “has the potential to seriously erode the copyright protections afforded photographers.”
Very disappointing for decision photographers!