I saw the copyright thread about recipes and quoting cookbooks here on Meta (and in one of my first posts, remember learning a valuable lesson as well [grin]).

My question is about photos. In this thread, I wanted to include a picture of a roasted red pepper, but am not at home so can't provide one of my own. I linked to one, but fear of link rot has me wondering if it would be ok to download and then upload to Imgur via the WYSIWYG. My assumption is no, that the image is copyrighted.

The reason I even bother asking is because I see what appear to be professional images appearing inline in posts (recent example), so I'm curious if it's ok or if those are just oversights and we should be editing those out and explaining why.

tl;dr - Can we included inline images from other sites in our questions/answers, even if we're not sure of their copyright status?

2 Answers 2


Your assumption that you can be "not sure" about the copyright status of an image is wrong. In the USA, the mere existence of a work that was created after March 1, 1989 implies copyright unless expressly indicated otherwise.

It all comes down to whether it would be considered "fair use". I'd think that your particular example with the pan constitutes fair use since it includes a link to the product (where the picture was clearly taken from). Companies usually don't sue people who directly or indirectly promote their products.

I would suggest using Wikipedia's image use guidelines as a model for our own.

  • Makes sense to me. Thanks for the link, seems like a great guide! Aug 24, 2010 at 13:14
  • This is actually the example I was thinking of, but couldn't find, when I asked the question: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/5751/a-manual-meat-slicer - in that case, since it's almost definitely a copyrighted image, but not sourced or linked to a product page, should it be removed to be safe? I hate to take away an important part of the question but at the same time based on your answer, it should probably be edited out, no? Or is it fair use under the "teaching" definition of fair use? Aug 25, 2010 at 19:37

I agree whole-heartedly with the CC cause, but note the difference between Wikipedia (as far as I can tell) and the CC-license for Stackexchange. SE has limitations on use (work can be re-used with restrictions; share-alike, attribution). Wikipedia, on the other hand, has the caveat Images which are listed as for non-commercial use only, by permission, or which restrict derivatives are unsuitable for Wikipedia and will be deleted on sight, unless they are used under fair use..

I only mention this as an additional dimension of consideration, not as something that disqualifies @hob 's answer.

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