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First up, not sure if this question is correct at WebMasters kindly redirect if it's not. I have a personal (non-commercial) blog where I write about technology and programming etc. I was wondering if I could use Official presskit images for example image of Surface tablet from MS Presskit when I am writing about the Surface Pro?

Secondly, if it's okay to use the image, should the images be re-hosted on my blog or hotlinked to image provided by Microsoft?

In this particular case Microsoft's Terms of Use seems very generic (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/legal/intellectualproperty/copyright/default.aspx#EPC)

I am not looking for a Legal opinion, more of best practices that webmasters/bloggers follow.

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General consensus is that promotional photographs are released precisely for this reason: So that people could use them on their blogs/websites/shops/marketing materials. So you are free to use the pictures as you don't profit directly from them (eg. it's not allowed to re-sell the promotional images).

Some interesting materials you might want to read:

From Wikipedia:

  • "Occasionally, the question is raised about the copyright status of press releases. While press releases are by nature intended to be reproduced widely, there is no inherent permission to alter them or create derivative works based on them, or to use them for commercial purposes"
  • Elimination of Fair Use Rationale in Promotional Photos - very long discussion, but general consensus is that promotional pictures are free to be used on websites, even these that adhere to free licences.

Microsoft:

  • Permissions - long story short: you may use pictures as long as you don't modify them.
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Thanks, I kind of concluded the same with respect to MS' Press Kit images. Thanks for the 'Permissions' link too. I'll take this as an answer and if I get into trouble I'll update the thread! –  sumitkm Apr 14 '13 at 11:33

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