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I'm writing an episode guide for a TV show and I think it would be helpful to include a couple of screenshots/images from each episode plus maybe 4 or 5 more images throughout the book. What is the legal position in doing this? I'm in the UK but it would probably be useful to know the situation globally as well as in the UK for this.

I'm thinking that it could be construed as fair use as I'm not copying the work and the usage is in context with the discussion but I naturally don't want to be sued for copyright infringement. Especially when I don't expect my book to sell more than a few hundred copies!

I've seen this question (Copyright of a TV series when used as reference?) which implies that using screenshots could be ok but it doesn't really answer my question.

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Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, so definitely talk to an actual lawyer for final, actionable legal advice.

I think this question boils down to: "Can I use still images and/or screenshots from a television show in an informational guide, as covered under UK fair use?"

Yes. Still images from a television show, reproduced in a nonfiction guide as visual or educational aids, would absolutely be covered under UK fair use law (or "fair dealing"/"free use" as it is commonly referred to in the UK). You're using the images in an informational guide book, and there is a well-established precedent for using TV still images in books and TV guides without necessarily needing to pay for the rights to do so. As long as you limit the number of images to only what is necessary, you should be fine.

That being said, you'll still have to take care of all the usual digital image rights concerns and attributions. That is, you can't grab random screenshots or images off Google - you'll have to source them from somebody and provide appropriate attributions and get permissions, as you would if you were reproducing somebody's nature photographs in a wildlife guide or artwork in a museum guide. But as long as you do that appropriately, I see no issue here.

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