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George Washington University Law School
 Chilling Effects Clearinghouse > Copyright and Fair Use > Notices > Re: Copyrights / GlassSteelAndStone.Com / "Atomium" (NoticeID 760, Printer-friendly version

July 14, 2003


Sender Information:
Artists Rights Society
Sent by: Rona Richter
5th Floor
New York, New York, 10012, US

Recipient Information:
Glass Steel and Stone
Houston, Texas, 77002, USA

Sent via: Postal mail
Re: Re: Copyrights / GlassSteelAndStone.Com / "Atomium"

As exclusive United States representative for the Belgium collecting society, SABAM, Artists Rights Society ("ARS") represents in the United States the rights and permissions interests for the association asbl Atomium. Asbl Atomium is the copyright proprietor of the artwork "Atomium" throughout the world. For additional information on ARS or SABAM, please visit or

For some time now the web page located at has been displaying two reproductions of "Atomium" (see print-out enclosed). Permission was neither sought nor granted for such reproduction and use of the artwork on the website. Such unlicensed reproduction and use of artwork on any Internet site with public access is considered a violation of the worldwide intellectual property rights of the rights holders, including without limitation, copyright, trademark rights and moral rights.

Asbl Atomium demands that you either immediately remove the image from Glass Steel and Stone's website, or else contact ARS for authorization.

if you are not the person in charge, I kindly as you to forward this to the appropriate persons.

The foregoing is without prejudict to the legal and equitable rights and remedies of asbl Atomium, SABAM, and ARS, all of which are expressly reserved.


Rona Richter

FAQ: Questions and Answers

[back to notice text]

Question: Can I post a copyrighted image on my website?

Answer: Maybe. In order to determine whether you can post a copyrighted image on your website, a court would apply the four factor fair use analysis.

First, it is important to determine the purpose and character of the use. If the use is commercial in nature, rather than for nonprofit education purposes, it less likely to be considered a fair use. To determine if it is commercial, a court would consider whether the use was exploitative and for direct profit, or if instead any commercial character was incidental. Also, if the use is transformative and for a different purpose than the original work, it is more likely the first factor will weigh in favor of finding a fair use. For example, in Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corporation, the court found that posting "thumbnail" images on a website was a fair use because such images served a different purpose than the original images.

Second, the court would consider the nature of the copyrighted work. The reproduction of a predominantly factual work is more likely to be considred a fair use than the reproduction of a highly creative one.

Third, it is important to consider the amount and substantiality of the portion of the copyrighted image used. This inquiry looks at not only the quantity, but also on the expressive value, of the portion used. If a large amount of the original image is copied, or if the portion copied is substantially significant to the work as a whole, it is less likely the court will find such copying to be a fair use.

Finally, the most important factor in this inquiry is the effect of the use on the potential market for the copyright owner's work. If posting the image on the website leads to a reduction in sales of the copyrighted work or discourages people from accessing the copyright owner's website, a court is more likely to find that the use is not fair and has an adverse impact on the copyright owner's market.

These four factors will be evaluated by a court in a factual inquiry to determine whether the posting of the image would constitute a fair use.

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