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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 101335
Experience:  Licensed attorney in private practice.
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I have a question about whether or not the following

Customer Question

I have a question about whether or not the following infringes on any exclusive rights. A browser plug-in scans incoming images to detect nudity and inserts a strategically placed black square or rectangle over the offending portion of the image. The plug-in doesn’t change anything on the originating website; it only modifies the experience that the user has when viewing the site.
If some of my artwork is blocked is this considered an infringement? Some brief research online has me to think it infringes my right to public display?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Ely replied 5 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

Because this is a relatively new situation, no case precedent or statutory law yet exists directly on point. However, a related case opinion suggests that this is likely not a copyright violation.

In Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., Universal Studios contested the legality of home video recorders because they allowed customer viewers to skip forward the ads that are part of most television broadcasts. The court dismissed that argument. Other cases followed (see HERE) with varying results, but the reality is that there is no case precedent as of yet. If someone in your situation makes a case about this, it may very well set a precedent. However, the Courts have majorly ruled in the past that viewers have a right to manipulate the final product to a point (at least, to skip commercials). So there is no guarantee that the Court will side with you.

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Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Thank you. As a follow up question. Is simply censoring images and nothing more copyright infringement?
Expert:  Ely replied 5 months ago.
You are most welcome.
Per your follow up - generally speaking, no.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Why so?
Expert:  Ely replied 5 months ago.

For the same reason as in the original answer - the Courts have generally allowed the viewer to censor the image themselves, provided it is for private consumption. But again, this is based on not-on-point opinion - on point case precedent has not yet occurred.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I am not talking about a private viewer. Talking about an app you can dowload to have your browser automatically do so.
Expert:  Ely replied 5 months ago.
I know. This is what my answer was for. It actually stays the same in either scenario.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or RATE POSITIVELY and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

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