Montville, NJ asked in Copyright for New Jersey

Q: If I take a video I do not own the rights to and pause it. Then take a screenshot of something in it, like two people.

If I take a video I do not own the rights to and pause it. Then take a screenshot of something in it, like two people. However you only see their bodies no faces. Then I take that screenshot from the video and turn it into artwork, like a drawing or painting. Can I sell that as my own art work? Video recordings taken from clips of videos on the internet on different websites. I live in New Jersey however I would like to sell my artwork world wide

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1 Lawyer Answer
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
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  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Beverly Hills, CA

A: What you propose does not infringe the copyright in the video from which you captured a freeze frame.

First, even if you reproduced the screenshot itself, that would be permissible under the "fair use" doctrine; and

Second, your artistic revisions to the screenshot have copyright significance, as you add original "transformative" content to the work. The significance of this is, if someone were to reproduce your artistic revision, that would infringe YOUR copyright in the augmented work.

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