The actual law via PDF: Library of Congress     Stanford's Copyright and Fair Use site     US Copyright Office     Lawyer devoted to Copyright 

Question:  I posed a question about autographs and sending copies of photos from press kits, screen captures and other items to four different studios by email and two "Law" internet sites and one studio via a post to a "board".  I got two responses.  One was from one of the "Law" sites which suggested that though their site was for "free" advice, that their lawyers were available for a "fee":

In both cases you technically do need permission if you are publishing it in our opinion.

Our attorneys could also become directly involved, though we normally do charge a fee for that.

Kind regards.

Name withheld

WORLD Law Direct

      My original question basically concerned the terms "private use" and "fair use".  I wanted to know if I didn't sell items, but only used the screen captures for my private collection without any sale and only to promote the actors and or the films, would this constitute "fair use" or "personal use". The other response was received from one of the studios a week later and is seen below:

Dear Ms. Hooven,

Your e-mail has been routed to Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

Electronic Press Kits released by Universal Studios include this statement: "Permission is hereby granted to newspapers and periodicals to reproduce this press kit in articles publicizing the distribution of the Motion Picture. This press kit, in whole or in part, must not be leased, sold, or given away." The Press Kits are copyrighted by Universal Studios with all rights reserved.

Releases from Universal Studios Home Entertainment include this statement on the DVD packages: "For private home use only. Federal law provides severe and criminal penalties for the unauthorized reproduction, distribution, or exhibition of copyrighted motion pictures and video formats." Additionally, the DVDs themselves include this warning: "The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000."

We appreciate your concern and hope that you will continue to enjoy Universal releases.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Now, there will be more added to this subject in time, but tonight I run out of time and am posting just this.  Please check back for more information soon.