An informal
> survey I did a few months ago gave me the impression that "web only"
> publications are a bit more liberal--and may tend to consider frame images
> to be okay without the author getting clearance (e.g., Kinoeye)

Kinoeye gets its images from a range of sources. I'd say that over 50
percent are now from either CD-ROMs published by film festivals with the
express purpose of providing press stills or from festival websites with for
the same function (they are usually password protected to stop Joe Public
just walking in). In fact, I think I am right in saying that many festivals
have a condition of entry that the producer submit film stills for press

We also get a lot of stills from national cultural centres when they promote
specific events that we cover. Another major source is official websites of
the film, which frequently have press sections from which you can download
quality images (see, for example, the website for Polanski's The Pianist).
Usually, these aren't password protected, although I have seen ones that

I don't think there's any doubt about using these images in a journal, print
or online, to cover contemporary releases without specific permission from
the rights owner. I'm not sure what the case would be, though, if you save
up all your festival CD-ROMs and years later use stills from them to
illustrate a book.

Occassionally, we contact the producer directly,  and I think Facets have
helped us out once or twice before even on occassions when we've not
specifically been reviewing their new releases (which we also do).

Given all that, the number of times when we have to use stills from places
that don't have a specific element of press publicity material or for which
we haven't got direct permission is now fairly low and dropping all the
time. But at the end of the day, we will risk it partly as we think that
Fair Use does cover us very well (Kinoeye is a non-profit and has a strong
argument for being educational) and partly as we've been doing this sort of
thing since 1998 now (and in the early years we were a lot more naive /
brazen about this) and we've never had any complaint from a copyright owner
about a film still.

...but then again, we mostly cover obscure to semi-obscure European films
that are just gagging for publicity of any kind. No doubt our policy would
be different if we were a journal devoted to Disney animations.


Andrew James Horton
Kinoeye (

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