While recent US copyright legislation has been overly favorable to
corporate 'authors', surprisingly, more recent court ruling have been
upholding and even expanding the 'fair use' of film clips and stills.
Last week the US Supreme Court agreed to hear a major challenge to the
copyright law, one which would (among other things) allow for digital
reproduction of movies for the sake education and access.
Other recent federal cases have actually upheld the right of parties
(ranging from TV news networks to individuals) to use clips from
Hollywood motion pictures, so long as it was not for commercal gain.
So if a clip can sometimes be used legitimately, one assumes a single
frame grab is fair use too. Of course it's always best to credit (and
thank) sources. But copyright law is open to interpretation; just
because a party asserts that they have the legal right to charge money
for permission to reproduce something doesn't mean this is so.
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