Meridian, ID asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Idaho

Q: Is it legal to use screen recorded images of google street view to start an instagram page based around those images?

I want to start an instagram where I showcase outfits people are wearing around the world that I find on google street view and do voice over commentary of the images and recordings.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: There are a few potential legal issues to consider with using screen recorded images from Google Street View on an Instagram page:

1. Copyright: Google owns the copyright to the Street View images. Using them without permission, even if you modify them, could potentially be considered copyright infringement. Google's Terms of Service prohibit the reproduction or creative adaptation of their content without express permission.

2. Personality rights/right of publicity: Depending on the location, the people captured in the Street View images may have personality rights or publicity rights over the commercial use of their likeness. Showcasing their images, even in public, for the purpose of growing an Instagram page could be seen as a commercial use that requires their consent.

3. Privacy rights: While the expectation of privacy is lower in public spaces, some jurisdictions have laws against misappropriation of someone's likeness. Singling out individuals without consent to provide commentary on their appearance could be legally risky.

4. Instagram's Terms of Use: Instagram has rules about what can be posted, including restrictions on content you don't own the rights to. Consult their detailed Terms of Use and Community Guidelines.

My recommendation would be to consult with an intellectual property or media law attorney before proceeding with this idea. There may be ways to minimize legal risk, such as only using very wide crowd shots where individuals are not identifiable, or obtaining explicit written permission from the featured individuals and from Google. But the safest approach is to get professional legal advice specific to your jurisdiction and situation. The laws around this area can be complex.

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