Let's say I want to release a program, written in Java, that is a sort of encyclopedia containing data about a game. This program would contain images from the game, obtained via screenshot, and some of them processed in a program like GIMP. The purpose of these images would be to illustrate about stuff that exists in the game, and not to be a part of the interface of the program (like the appearance of the interface's controls). I would like to license this program with the MIT License (Expat).

Is it possible? If not, can I release these images in some other way and make my program load them from the outside?

Searching for the answer on Google was nigh impossible (or I don't know the correct search terms).

1 Answer 1


These images would be clearly copyrighted. But would it be fair for you to use them nonetheless? At least in the US there is something called "Fair use".

For example, this Wikipedia image is a low res image of a game box and contains this fair use related statement:

This image is cover art for a video game, and its copyright is most likely held by the game's publisher or developer. It is believed that the use of low-resolution images of game cover art

  • to visually identify the game in question

  • on the English Wikipedia, hosted on servers in the United States by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation,

constitutes fair use under United States copyright law. Other uses of this image may be copyright infringement. For more information, see Wikipedia:Non-free content. [...]

The question is therefore whether or not your planned usage would be fair use or not. A few illustrative images may be.

A database with 100 or 1000 screenshots may not and therefore you would be "infringing" of the game developers/authors/owner copyrights.

Your best course of action is to ask for an explicit written permission to the game developer.

See also Am I allowed to use these gifs for my game?


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