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Re: Updating task screenshots from developer websites

I posted my previous response just minutes before this response
appeared in my inbox, but I came to the same conclusions, just for
different reasons.  Namely, that scraping screenshots from other
sources is Not A Good Idea.

But you make excellent points and I appreciate your clarification.
In the future, when in doubt, my motto will simply be "That's not
good enough for Debian."  (Not kidding - I actually wrote it down.)



On Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 6:58 PM, Paul Wise <pabs@debian.org> wrote:
On Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 6:15 PM, Collin Kewanee wrote:

> Well my main concern was legality / copyright/ etc., but the only references
> I
> could find were from 2008 and concerned a memo from Debian Legal about
> publishing thumbnails and screenshots from games under the same license as
> the game they came from, and then the fact that screenshots published on the
> Internet, for reviews and such, are generally considered Fair-Use.

That sounds like the document we (the Debian games team) asked SPI's
lawyers to prepare. Before the screenshots site existed we had a
thumbnails package containing thumbnails from contrib/non-free games.
As a result of the document we had to split the package into pieces.

In the world of copyright you should assume that everything is
proprietary because that is the default under the law. Only if there
is a valid license grant can you do things. In addition some
jurisdictions have some exceptions that are allowed (like Fair-Use in
the USA or fair dealing in Australia). For Debian's purposes these
exceptions are not sufficient and thus we cannot rely on them. As a
result the screenshots site cannot use random screenshots from the

> So I was working under the general assumption that if the developer placed a
> screenshot
>  of the application on their website, it was for public use.  Linking to it
> would be acceptable.
> But is scraping it and uploading it to screenshots.d.n acceptable?

People's assumptions are usually false when it comes to copyright law.
Images on the web are rarely under a DFSG-free license, including
screenshots. If Debian could rely on the USA's Fair-Use concept it
would be acceptable to just scrape screenshots but that isn't the

On the legal side, the best way to ensure no legal issues is to make
the screenshots yourself. Also, if the screenshot includes display of
some non-free content - like a Hollywood DVD in a video player - we
usually reject those too.

Another thing is that many upstream screenshots are taken from the PoV
of the upstream - showing the menus etc. Screenshots for Debian are
supposed to be coming from a user point of view - showing typical
usage. The best way to get that is for users of the Debian/Ubuntu
packages to make screenshots of their typical usage with real data.



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