Question by chillinburn: Copyright for using film images – can I use still images on my website?
I would like to use still images from films like Toy Story, Iron Man etc on my clients website to demonstrate the kind of quality their 3D animation business can generate? Will I need to contact the film production companies or would a logo/note on the site crediting them for the image suffice? We cannot afford to seek legal advice on this at the moment so any help from anyone involved in copyright issues on here would be so gratefully received. Many thanks.
Answer by Steve D
The images are copyrighted, and you are using them to sell a service (hence for profit). Your best bet is to seek a release from the holder of the copyright (Pixar, Disney, whomever). Obviously, the copyright holder may want royalties, so you will have to make that decision. Failure to obtain a release opens you up to a law suit which obviously can run thousands of dollars in costs and tens or thousands in damages.
You would be better served to go to any local college with an Art Department and commissioning one of the students to draw an original animation – you can probably get it relatively cheaply, the student gets some money and an addition to their portfolio, you own (or at least co-own depending on your agreement) the artwork and best of all, you avoid the lawyers and lawsuits.
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