Re-Posting Other Peoples’ Photos/Videos on Steemit: Fair Use vs Commercial Use

I have seen Steemit users posting photos that do not belong to them. While some users try to pass off the works as their own, others cite the original creator/location and consider the citation to make it ok. But is it?

@masteryoda in particular has numerous high-value posts that are simply photos and citations copied and pasted from award-winning photographers. At the end of these posts, @masteryoda writes this, “Each photography is posted with the according photographer and credits under fair use license.” 

But what constitutes fair use? I did a little research and found that fair use is ultimately determined by a judge, and judges use four factors to determine if something falls under fair use. One of those factors is the character of the use. If the use is transformative somehow (e.g. criticism, commentary, parody, otherwise adding value), that lends itself to fair use. Other things fall into a gray area (e.g. non-profit, educational and personal uses). Straight copying entire works for commercial use falls pretty squarely outside of fair use. (source #1, source #2

Does re-posting to Steemit without permission from the original creator count as illegal commercial use? I think the blogging rewards do make it commercial use. What do you think? 

(I’m not a lawyer. I just think this is a really important discussion to have. @thecryptofiend posted on this topic several days ago, but the post did not get the attention I feel this topic deserves.) 

*By the way, image at the top of this post downloaded free from as public domain, free for commercial use.*

Corinne Stokes

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