With bots performing all sorts of intellectual property policing these days, fair use considerations are completely off the table. Nuances that can't be handled by a bot should theoretically be turned over to a human being in disputed cases. Unfortunately, dispute processes are often handled in an automated fashion, leading to even more problems.
Tolriq Yatse, the developer of a popular Xbox Media Center (XMBC) remote control app for Android phones, ran into this very problem with Google's Play Store, which suddenly dumped his app over "intellectual property violations" after more than 2 years of trouble-free listing. This might have been a quick fix if Google had been more forthcoming with details, but all Yatse received was a brief notice as his app was removed from the Play store.His complaints reached his fans and customers, who then made their presence felt. This finally prompted a Google human to give Yatse the details he needed so he could fix his app and get it relisted.
Nothing was changed at all apart filling the new forced content rating form and suddenly lost all my revenues.
I hope someone human answer with details soon, but I'm joining the anger from all developers around about how #Google treat devs, take 30% share without problem but certainly do not do support or act as human when killing someone.This part of Google's response refers to screenshots used in the app's listing. They used to look something like this…
Thank you for your additional comments.
As previously explained, your promotional images include content that you do not appear to have permission to distribute. For example, images related to films are most likely protected by the various studios that produced and released them. It is reasonable to assume that these would not be made legally available in public domain or via Creative Commons as most studios are extremely protective of their intellectual property. The same could be said of images from various TV series…
The images used here are only indicative of the app's capabilities. Even if (obviously) unlicensed, the app doesn't promise anything more than control of XBMC content. It doesn't promise access to studios' offerings or otherwise act as a movie/TV show portal. In this context, the movie posters displayed in the screenshots would appear to fall under "fair use." Google's response to Yatse indicates that, even with a human now involved, the Play Store won't tolerate the use of unlicensed images in "promotional" screenshots.
In fact, fair use isn't even discussed. Instead, Google asked Yatse to prove ownership of the disputed artwork before the app could be relisted.The motivating factor for this non-consideration is potential litigation, according to the Google Play Team.
If you are able to prove otherwise, either via direct authorization from a studio representative or the location where you sourced these images (public domain and/or Creative Commons), we could review that information and reconsider the merits of this case.