Will my portfolio idea violate copyright?


I have an idea for making a portfolio, I would like each example in my portfolio to not only
show the code, but also demonstrate what the code does with a screen recording.

Let’s say I run a selenium script on IMDb.com . I use selenium to enter a search in the search window and return the result. Pytest can assert that the search returned valid search results for example.

If I publish such a screen recording would that somehow violate copyright you think? I know that IMDb is very sensitive about web scraping, for good reason, but in my case I am not scraping the site for any resources, I would however show IMDb’s content in my example.

Grateful for any pointers the community at The Club might have.



I’m more used to copyright issues with traditional media and copying traditional media over to first generation digital platforms, but my initial reaction would be that your publication of such a screen recording would violate IMDb’s copyright.

If you only published a link back to IMDb showing the results of your scripting running in real time on their site, I suspect that would not violate their copyright; but I’m skating on thin ice here of the extent of my knowledge. :thinking:

Hello @robertday and thanks for your reply.

I have read some more on the topic but it is really a judgment call in the end.

quora com

tiny take

On one hand I think I might be in the realm of fair use after all since I am not making my own version of a movie site and I am not making money.

On the other hand It is a stretch to say a portfolio educates. And the IMDb page has other copyrighted material displayed. Currently Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker features prominently. Now if anyone is sensitive about copyright their material it would be Disney. Maybe blurring the Stat Wars material or show just a small part of the screen is a workaround.


Fair use would probably cover it, though as you say it is a judgement call. The advice you’ve cited seems sound. (Practice here in the UK is similar, though obviously different case law would apply.) I’ve seen fair use abused in the past, and that was long before digital media even existed. And as far as Disney and Rise of Skywalker is concerned, I would imagine that IMDb is considered to be almost an “official” platform nowadays. Given how integral the site generally seems to be to the wider entertainment industry, it would be entirely possible that it holds the appropriate licences anyway.

As with most legal matters, in the end it comes down to how much the party who is “officially” infringed feels put out by it. In the developer/testing/wider IT community, I suspect that people are generally quite relaxed in the spirit of mutual self-improvement, as long as people don’t set out to monetise their stuff

And kudos to you for thinking of this angle. So often people just work on the assumption that their use is OK without checking.

Thanks again Robert for your thoughtful response. In the end what I decided to do was to move away from IMDb and instead test Helsinki Library’s website instead. Making a screen recording of a website which is not in the content business realm as IMDb seems wiser.

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Happy New Year!

That sounds like an interesting idea. I’ve just had a look at the library’s website - both the site and the library are very impressive. (In an earlier existence, I trained as a librarian but never worked in the discipline for more than about a year.)

Looking at the facilities their Urban Workshop offers, it strikes me that the library might be quite open to helping you and possibly even facilitating workshops or meetups. It might be well worth your talking to them to see what they could offer.


Magnus, brilliant idea. Pity, because I still think it’s cooler to scrape IMDB. I assume you mean a mainly Github hosted portfolio? I would say there are 2 copyright problems here

  • The first is not getting permission to re-broadcast someone else’s content, or movie like the site scraping screencast. And blurring the screencast will detract - although if you obscure the screencast play it back at high speed in a video editor, you might be able to get away with that aspect more easily. Youtube content protection engine is also going to be unlikely to flag your content if you make the movie footage only a small portion of the frame anyway. However, think about it this way, if you ask permission to use their site in this way, are you likely to get a yes? If you think the answer is No, it’s clearer.
  • The second is the tricker one in the iMBD case and that is showing people how to extract data from their database - which will be stated in the TOS as being in breech. So your code is possibly going to be used to help people who copy your source code to breach their Terms Of Service. Hence scraping a library website is much much safer. I’d be far more worried about this one, given youtube are unlikely to catch me if I doctor the video.

Best of luck, keen to see it in action.

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Happy New Year to you too @robertday I am very fond of libraries which is probably why I picked this website. https://www.oodihelsinki.fi/en/

I live quite far from Helsinki at the moment but I may move to the capital this year. Libraries are often open to meetups and people volunteering to organize an event so I will keep your suggestion in mind. I also know a group of Python beginners that meet regularly in Helsinki which I will join if I move there.

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Thanks @conrad.braam for pointing out the second aspect concerning sharing code that can be used for scraping. I had not thought of that, and it is probably another reason I better stay clear of messing with IMDb.

I also thought IMDBb being the more exiting option at first but once I studied the library website (and as a fan of libraries) I started thinking of many use cases for a library visitor which would suit Selenium testing very well.

The portfolio I have in mind would be on medium.com. (something similar to what is described in this article ). Both the code (from a github repo) and the screencast (Vimeo) would be embedded to the medium portfolio. That’s my idea at least.

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I, would be looking at a platfom you can control for a portfolio actually, like a personal web domain with a blog pointing to it is often easiest. You only need to pay for the domain and the DNS record kind of setup lets you get much more creative. But linkedin and medium drive traffic to you, if that is your goal, but you loose some power, they are simpler.

That’s a good point. Earlier I spend a lot of time building a portfolio with JavaScript projects and publishing it on github pages. It was definitely valuable to work on designing the portfolio itself. This time however I prefer something that is both quick to set up and that can maybe drive some traffic too.

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Yes, the requirement that a portfolio is live and can drive some traffic/visits will force you to keep it in a “running” state, whatever that might mean.