I am designing an apartment search website. Can I use the images (photos of apartments) from other apartment search websites on my site? Can I use photos from the actual apartment websites themselves? Do these fall under the guidance of "Fair Use" since we are not making money on the photos themselves? These are merely to aid in the search for an apartment.
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): Texas
Thank you for your question.If the image is in the public domain and is not copyrighted, then you can use the image. However it would still be very wise to contact the party who put the image up and to request permission since this likely would not fall under "Fair Use", as the underlying point of the site is profit, and even if the images themselves are not used for profit, the website itself IS. The images that are put up from the websites are owned by the complex, and if you use them without permission, that may be considered copyright infringement. It may be better and more professional to seek permission first before obtaining such images in this instance.Good luck.Dimitry Esquire41053.6452482986
Can you expand on the definition of "public domain" in this particular case?
Thank you for your follow-up. Sure thing, "public domain" is generally intellectual property works, images, or other property that have expired, been forfeited, or are otherwise inapplicable or not protected by the initial party. That would take years and years to accomplish for any work, and if the image is relatively new online, it is absolutely not yet in the public domain (and therefore in your case, not something that you could utilize for your website search engine).Good luck.Dimitry Esquire41053.6542604167
Do the images have to be officially copyrighted (registered with a copyright office) to be "protected"? I don't see a copyright watermark on any of the photos.
No, they do not have to be officially copyrighted to be protected, if they are put up by the company, there is still an inference of ownership, and while it may give you more leeway and wiggle room to argue that the image is not protected, it will still not protect you from a possible expense of a law suit.Good luck.Dimitry Esquire41053.6711383102
I assist my clients with IP questions that arise in their daily course of doing business.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).