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View Full Version : Screenshots, animated GIFs, and copywright laws



bigbarada
08-22-2007, 01:33 AM
I'm just wondering if anyone knows what is actually written down regarding screenshots and animated GIFs in regards to potential copywright law infringement.

I've been planning to set up a website that will focus solely on all the characters of Jabba's Palace as a way to sort out who's who and were they appear. However, unlike the Red6 directory and others, I wanted to only use high-quality screengrabs from the film (as many as possible for each character and up to 800x600 pixels each) and maybe even animated GIFs to show some of the action (it's easier to make out some details if you see the characters in motion). I hope to be able to dissect the entire Jabba's Palace/Skiff Battle segment of ROTJ frame by frame and identify as many characters as possible in every scene. This way when people ask "who was so-and-so and where was he/she in the movie?" there will be a resource for them to find out.

Now, would this violate any copywright laws? I don't want to go through all the work of setting this website up and sifting through the film with a fine-toothed comb just to have Lucasfilm shut it down a week later.

Anyone who knows what the law actually states about this, I'd really appreciate some guidance as to whether I should even proceed.

Dar' Argol
08-22-2007, 05:48 AM
I think if you put a disclaimer that all characters and images are the property of Lucasfilm . . blah blah blah I think that will cover you. Its not like you are making money off of this and in this digital age where acquiring a image is a matter of ctrl+c, I don't think any 800lb gorilla will come crashing down on you. I'm not sure about the letter of he law, I'm not even really sure how much is applied to th net. But a disclaimer stating who owns the rights to the images and as long as you do not claim credit for such images then you should be fine.

It will be a nice site to see when its done Big-B!

JediTricks
08-22-2007, 11:55 PM
Technically it's a copyright violation out the wingwang, the law says you can have thumbnails which are like 150x150 or less, but nothing else. However, since you're not selling these images or even distributing these images in a large fashion, at this point it's probably not going to hit the radar.


On the technical side, you're going to be a little disappointed with screenshots, DVDs only have enough image data for 480 views usually, a little more for widescreen occasionally but basically just a rich, small image.

bigbarada
08-23-2007, 12:24 AM
DVDs only have enough image data for 480 views usually, a little more for widescreen occasionally but basically just a rich, small image.

I've actually been noticing that. DVD "quality" is only marginally better than a standard television image. So, I've been a little disappointed with some of the screengrabs. However, I'm using MPEG Streamclip to export the VOB files to Quicktime and I've been letting the software deinterlace the video itself. So maybe I won't do that and just manually deinterlace each image in Photoshop. Hopefully that will help improve the overall quality.

So far, this is as good as it gets, and this is the cleaned-up, Special Edition version of the film:

JediTricks
08-23-2007, 01:51 AM
The program I'm using can go to 1024 wide while looking about that quality, I haven't actually pushed it further because I haven't needed anything bigger but I can see in the up-close that it's interpolating probably the best it can and anything above that will lose quality. Of course, I don't have to work with a Mac, I just click a button and a second later my screenshots look like that (except that the SW DVD transfers are RIDICULOUSLY dark!)

plasticfetish
08-23-2007, 02:19 AM
I'm actually impressed by the quality of that screen grab BigB... it's much cleaner than what I've managed to grab. (But I've been using a really old TV card.)

Funny how this topic has come up a lot lately.

Here's the place to start when it comes to copyright...

http://www.copyright.gov/

In particular, you may want to read through the "fair use" section...

http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107

I'm no expert, and my understanding of copyright law only extends to what I learned in college with regard to "fine art", but for the most part, it all boils down to the relative chances of provoking hassle... pretty much what JT said. The worst that can happen is that you'll be asked to remove the images (cease and desist), and then you either do it or risk being sued.

Getting back to "art"... it's long been a running thing with a friend and I, to joke about some of the great cease and desist letters we might get from using famous people's images in our art.

...might be cool to get, keep and frame that letter from LFL. ;)

bigbarada
08-23-2007, 02:39 AM
Well, I'm still new to MPEG Streamclip. I actually just figured out that I can export screenshots straight out of that program. I was exporting them to Quicktime as Apple Motion JPEGs, playing them in QT, then just taking a screengrab of the paused screen and cropping out the rest of my desktop in Photoshop.

Here's a nifty little screengrab of Boba Fett, of course it helps when everyone is sitting still like he is here:

bigbarada
08-23-2007, 02:49 AM
I'm actually impressed by the quality of that screen grab BigB... it's much cleaner than what I've managed to grab. (But I've been using a really old TV card.)

Funny how this topic has come up a lot lately.

Here's the place to start when it comes to copyright...

http://www.copyright.gov/

In particular, you may want to read through the "fair use" section...

http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107

I'm no expert, and my understanding of copyright law only extends to what I learned in college with regard to "fine art", but for the most part, it all boils down to the relative chances of provoking hassle... pretty much what JT said. The worst that can happen is that you'll be asked to remove the images (cease and desist), and then you either do it or risk being sued.

Getting back to "art"... it's long been a running thing with a friend and I, to joke about some of the great cease and desist letters we might get from using famous people's images in our art.

...might be cool to get, keep and frame that letter from LFL. ;)

We got a quick crash course in the "fair use" clause of copywright law when I took digital video editing in college. One of our assignments was to create a movie trailer using existing footage. I made a ROTJ trailer and edited it to make it look like Luke kills Vader and turns to the Darkside. It came out alright, although I had to use VHS footage at the time.

If I could find a safe, clandestine way to put it online, I'd love to do it.

I would sooooo frame a cease and desist letter from Lucasfilm.:thumbsup:

plasticfetish
08-23-2007, 03:28 AM
I would sooooo frame a cease and desist letter from Lucasfilm.:thumbsup:I'd say go for it then. It's a good idea. A decent reference site with really good images would be a plus.

JediTricks
08-24-2007, 10:05 PM
Here's a nifty little screengrab of Boba Fett, of course it helps when everyone is sitting still like he is here:Boy, ain't that f'ing truth! ESB, which I just finished the wallpaper for, is so chock full of scenes that look great in the movie and look underwhelming as stills. Oh look, Vader is standing there looking awesome - but his friggin' hand is moving and blurry and cutting across the left side of his body, well ain't that dandy.

I don't envy you trying to pull stills from Jabba's Palace, that stuff is so dark and the DVDs darken what's there, and then there's not that much image data in their darkest scenes - some of the shots of Vader in the Cloud City core are like half a guy and half inky nothing. Carbon Freeze Chamber shots were a nightmare, all that smoke turns into artifacting and dark stuff behind it just turns into shapeless blobs.

El Chuxter
08-24-2007, 10:38 PM
Oooooooh, you said the f'ing word!!!

JediTricks
08-25-2007, 02:42 AM
Oooooooh, you said the f'ing word!!!
F right I did!