I’m currently working through your book Teach Yourself Visually
Dreamweaver and really enjoy the approachable instructions and text.
The question I have is around the screenshots you have used in your
book. I would like to produce similar books and training
manuals/handouts on other IT products and am unsure about the copyright
issues I may face in doing so.
Did you have to get written permission from Adobe, Macromedia and Microsoft in order to use screenshots of their products and if so, was it necessary to pay any ‘royalties’ or copyright fees for the privilege??? Or is this type of use covered by fair use or another such copyright exclusion?
Sally | Librarian
You ask a great question, but the answer may surprise you. The software companies encourage authors and others to use screenshots of their programs, books, and training materials. I imagine they realize our materials help people use products.
The trick for me with permissions has been making sure I have the rights to the images, designs, etc., that I feature in the books.
I like to use real web sites, but more and more I create sites specifically for my training videos and books so that I don’t have to worry about permissions. I do have a formal letter of agreement I use, but not all publishers even require those anymore, especially not for all the sites you might feature.
I’m not an attorney (insert generic disclaimer) but as I understand it, one screenshot of Google to illustrate the search engine probably doesn’t require a permission letter, but a lot of screenshots of the Disney site showing actors’ faces and characters such as Mickey Mouse could get you in trouble.
Any time I’m using photos of kids, I’m very careful about permissions (most of the kids in my books are my own nieces and nephew . I also ask anyone I know before I use their photo in a book.
I really love my work and there are many opportunities in the world for creating these kinds of materials, so I’m happy to help. I also have a soft spot in my heart for librarians, who have helped me out with more than one big research project over the years.
Oh, and my favorite program for taking the screenshots you need in a book like that is SnagIt by Techsmith. (It will save you much time, and you may have noticed those books have a lot of screenshots.)
Hope that helps, I’d love to know more about what you want to write about.