This question about repeated images in various editions of the Dungeon Master's Guide has this answer that's good (and probably right) but that would be vastly improved were it to include the actual illustrations. Usually, I'm a begging-for-forgiveness-is-better-than-asking-for-permission dude, but it's my question not my answer, and I didn't want to suggest to the answer's writer to include the illustrations without making sure first that their inclusion is okay.

In short, for the purposes of critique, comparison, or review, is including illustrations in a question or answer acceptable?

  • \$\begingroup\$ So you are specifically talking about using images from copyrighted source material yes? \$\endgroup\$
    – Rubiksmoose Mod
    Jan 12 '18 at 19:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose Yes, I am talking about using images from copyrighted sources for the noncommercial purposes of critique, comparison, or review in such a way that won't damage sales of the original material. (That's me implying that I already think this is an acceptable practice; I just want confirmation from the site saying so.) \$\endgroup\$ Jan 12 '18 at 19:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Cool I just wanted to confirm that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rubiksmoose Mod
    Jan 12 '18 at 19:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ If the images are not high resolution, I think this use should fall into fair use, no? \$\endgroup\$
    – ZwiQ
    Jan 13 '18 at 5:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ZwiQ IANAL, but my understanding is that the site's hosting of such images for such purposes would fall under fair use. I don't venture to a lot of the other SE sites, but I know from experience that the Sci-fi & Fantasy SE posts comic book panels without (ahem) issue in questions and answers, for instance, yet I don't know if the same policy applies here to standalone illustrations… but, like I said, I think it should? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 13 '18 at 13:52

Yes, but

Your stipulations as to the use of the material in positing this question essentially leads to you asking if the use of images specifically permitted as Fair Use is permitted by site policy. It should be, since we already allow the use of copyrighted material under Fair Use in other, non-image, contexts, and (as you have pointed out) other stacks already do this with images, thus indicating that there isn't a stack policy against it.

We already use copyrighted material via a Fair Use justification when we quote from copyrighted works, especially when those quotes contain stuff beyond game-mechanical information. For example, see this answer as to items used by Gord the rogue, my answer to the question about owlbear sounds, and this answer addressing floating gelatinous cubes.


The default image-hosting stuff uses Imgur. Imgur doesn't allow any material except material you can grant Creative Commons licensing to. So, you can't use Imgur (and thus can't use the normal image hosting methods). You can, however, link to an externally hosted image file (but not through the imgur hosting method).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that hotlinking to an external server without permission is at best Bad Form (you're sucking the bandwidth they're paying for) and usually also a high risk for dead links. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Jan 14 '18 at 3:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BESW Eh. That's true as far as it goes, but there's a lot of sites where permission is implied by the intended use. If Google gets annoyed by me linking content stored on Google Docs, for example, it's their own fault for expressly indicating the software can/should be used to do that. And it's pretty trivial to take any image you wanna share and put it somewhere ok with people visiting if your original source isn't ok with that for some reason. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14 '18 at 8:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ So, in essence, those awesome dudes over at Sci-fi & Fantasy SE are doing it wrong when using in answers comic panels hosted on the default SE image hosting site? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14 '18 at 20:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Yes, but they're violating (maybe) imgur policy, not any SE policy. Imgur's terms just say: "With regard to any file or content you upload to the public portions of our site, you grant Imgur a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable worldwide license (with sublicense and assignment rights) to use, to display online and in any present or future media, to create derivative works of, to allow downloads of, and/or distribute any such file or content." The rest of the ToS is okay, just not that one line. Such lines have in the past been ruled illegal, however, so... \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14 '18 at 21:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ SF&F Are possible not breaking any rules, since the ToS (like most documents nowadays) states it's a severable agreement-- that is, if any part of it is illegal or non-binding then secretly the agreement was actually the rest of the agreement except for those parts the whole time (this practice is also legally dubious). So, it's not something Imgur wants people in general to be doing, it may or may not be something they are okay with SE doing as part of whatever special private agreement SE has with them, but it's not illegal or against SE policy or site policy. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14 '18 at 21:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay. Cool. If the info in comments could incorporated into the answer and the answer be also amended to include a recommendation about what to do in this specific case, that'd be grand. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14 '18 at 21:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ SE has its own Imgur instance. I'm not sure if that changes anything, but I would not be surprised if it was governed by a completely different TOS agreement. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 15 '18 at 1:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Good to know! I figured there was something special but I didn't realize it was an entirely separate service. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 15 '18 at 6:17

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