I found some beautiful hi-res images online and want to print them just to frame and hang in my home.

The images came from personal websites of photographers or news sites like AP.

Is this legal?

  • 3
    Have you considered asking the photographer if they already have a print for sale?
    – user9447
    Jul 16, 2014 at 14:02
  • 2
    Then I would contact the photographer and ask.
    – user9447
    Jul 16, 2014 at 14:31
  • 4
    Typically, yes, this falls into fair use territory. Though note that what is truly fair use vs. not is typically handled on a case-by-case, judge-by-judge basis. Would anyone sue you for printing a photo and hanging it on your wall? Likely, no.
    – DA01
    Jul 16, 2014 at 14:36
  • 2
    Google 'copyright and fair use' to find all sorts of information on the topic. Remember copyright law isn't black and white. It's entirely gray.
    – DA01
    Jul 16, 2014 at 15:02
  • 1
    Most countries do not have a fair use clause. If it didnt have a license then no you can not print it without permission. No you wont get caught.
    – joojaa
    Sep 14, 2014 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


While it's highly unlikely you'd face a lawsuit over one print, it technically wouldn't fall under 'fair use' standards, from what I see. A photographer or their employer inherently owns copyright on the image.

According to U.S. copyright law, "There may be situations in which the reproduction of a photograph may be a “fair use” under the copyright law. Information about fair use may be found at: www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html." That page states "One of the rights accorded to the owner of copyright is the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords."

  • The last sentence essentially defines copyright. Fair use is an EXCEPTION to that broad definition.
    – DA01
    Jul 16, 2014 at 15:03
  • True. In that sentence, I was simply illustrating that U.S. copyright law does clearly define a photographers' right to reproduction. There's no grey area as far as that goes. 'Fair use' is a grey area, I know. That's why I included that first quote, referencing the fair use information url. Trying to keep the answer directly about the question 'is it legal?'
    – digijim
    Jul 16, 2014 at 15:08
  • Even when your answer is right, the OP didn't state he is living in the United States.
    – Rosenthal
    Sep 14, 2014 at 17:54

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