Here is another copyright question. Can I use a still image (which I will further modify, such as convert to black/white and apply filters from graphic software) from a standard youtube licensed video in my ebook? Can I use a CC licensed image?

The ebook is to be published in German language. I like it to be available in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

2 Answers 2


This answer does not present any legal advice. In fact your post contains two questions. Speaking of the youtube license part you should definetly add information about the country you want to publish the eBook.

CC licenses come with different characteristics, regulating the rights and responsibilities. The use of CC licensed images may be limited in terms of content derivation, derived licenses, commercial use and all diverse combinations of those. The exact license versions can be found at creativecommons.org

  • So "CC BY" and "CC BY SA" would allow me to use still images of the video, right?
    – Karsten W.
    Jan 20, 2015 at 10:54
  • 1
    Depends—are you using them commercially? If you have any doubts, you should contact the rights holder. And, as ever, be sure that you're certain the random person on the internet actually has the legal authority to license the copyright of a given work.
    – Tom
    Jan 20, 2015 at 11:00
  • Since I want to put the images in the ebook and sell it on amazon etc., so it is commercial use, right?
    – Karsten W.
    Jan 22, 2015 at 8:57

So, I am not a lawyer, etc. The basics of copyright law, though, are fairly straightforward: If you don't own the image/text/song/whatever, you can't use it, unless there's an explicit license in place that lets you do what you want to do. There are some specific exceptions in place, like parody (which is about creating transformative work from pre-existing ones) and fair use, which has four main considerations:

  1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for non-profit educational purposes
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

The important thing to note here is that you can't just say "no look, I'm not going to diminish your market or the value of your work, so it's totally fair use". Well, you can, but it'll be up to the courts to decide who is right, which means be prepared for some long, drawn-out legal battles. The best advice is to ask permission if a work is not clearly licensed by the original creator, and if it is clearly licensed (again, by the original creator, not just some random person on the internet), to abide by the strictures laid out in the license.

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