Apparently a lot of Americans want to enhance their social media commentary this week with a photo of the only operating Chick-fil-A in the San Francisco Bay Area, as posted on the Dayton Public Policy Institute blog article entitled “Prediction: Chick-fil-A Will Soon Become Acquainted with How the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Is Wielded for Purposes Unrelated to Environmental Protection.”
This brings up the thorny issue of intellectual property rights: what web images fall within the so-called “public domain” and what images fall under the rationale of the “Fair Use Doctrine?” Most adult Americans have a vague idea that copying images posted on the web and reposting them elsewhere may violate copyright laws under certain circumstances.
Below is an image of the Chick-fil-A closest to San Francisco (40 miles away, in Fairfield) that you can use without violating federal copyright law, overseen by the United States Copyright Office, a division of the Library of Congress.
Title 17, Section 201 of the United States Code states that “copyright in a work protected under this title vests initially in the author or authors of the work.” As the author of this image, I waive my copyright and give permission for you to use it, restricted to the conditions of Title 17, Section 106A of the United States Code that allow the author to prevent the use of his or her name as the author of the work of visual art in the event of a distortion, mutilation, or other modification of the work which would be prejudicial to his or her honor or reputation. I recognize my waiver on this blog does not include my signature on a written instrument granting the waiver, but it can be assumed.
Fair Use Exemption: Note that Title 17, Section 107 of the United States Code states that “the fair use of a copyrighted work” for “purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.” So you may not necessarily need my waiver to use this photo anyway.
If you’re really concerned about all of the legal permutations of using this photo, please contact a qualified attorney who specializes in intellectual property law.