Legals 101: The Legality of Video Game Screenshots

I’ve seen a fair amount of new bloggers asking the same old question day and night. “Can I use screenshots taken by another individual on my personal / commercial blog without permission?” Well, if you’re here for the quick answer, it’s a yes.

Can I Use Video Game Screenshots In My Blog?

In short, for the sake of commentary, you are allowed to use almost any screenshot that you or anyone else have taken. Unless the game allows the individual to create something abstract / conjured by the author him / herself, than you are under the protection of the ‘Fair Use Policy‘ to use these screenshots in your personal blog. It is even acceptable for you to simply take images that other people have screenshotted and insert them into your blog but is unethically correct. I suggest you ask for permission from the original screenshot creator for the sake of professionalism and courtesy.Books in Shelf

“In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an infringement.”

-‘Stanford University Libraries

More on Fair Use

The ‘Stanford University Libraries‘ justified the meaning and conditioning of the ‘Fair Use Policy‘ quite clearly but for the sake of further simplifying, I’ll elaborate. Basically, the ‘Fair Use Policy‘ states that anyone who reproduces copyrighted content in the forms of images, text, video and any other form is under protection of the ‘Fair Use Policy‘ and its conventional laws which are signed in over 164 countries. The ‘Fair Use Policy‘ considers the following factors when taking into account whether or not an individual has broken international copyright laws.

  • The purpose and character of your use.
  • The nature of the copyrighted work.
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and.
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market.

In short, if you are in good sidings with each of the factors stated above, there really isn’t anything to worry about. Here’s a post diving deeper into the ‘Fair Use Policy‘ and what you should take into consideration when addressing a copyrighted, intellectual property as ‘Fair Use.’Person Signing in Documentation Paper


In conclusion, all video game screenshots taken by any individual is technically the intellectual property of the video game creator. The individual taking the screenshot is not entitled to the screenshot unless the individual has created some form of object / item in the game that is unique to him / her. For instance, if a person were to create an entire map in ‘Minecraft,’ then he / she would technically own the said screenshot even though the video game creator has the final say about copyright.

So feel free to take screenshots or video games and include them in your blog. Or, simply take other people’s screenshot. But don’t, because that’s unethically correct.

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