Ask SPLC: Can we use screenshots from a public Instagram account?

Q: We compiled a collage of screenshots from student’s instagram photos. The accounts are public.  Is it legal for us to publish that collage?

A: Assuming the photos are individually recognizable — that is, the subjects can be seen, for example, and you’ve used enough of the original photo that people would recognize it as the individual work it once was, you will need explicit permission from each of the copyright owners. In the case of candid photos, the copyright owner is generally the person who took the photo.

Every week, Student Press Law Center attorneys answer a frequently asked question about student media law in “Ask SPLC.”

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