Are you using Google screenshots illegally?

Are you using Google screenshots illegally? SEOs and web design agencies often use a screenshot of Google results to show off their wonderful rankings. I hadn't really considered the copyright implications of doing this, until I stumbled across the official page on how to use Google's brand.

Because most of us are too busy enjoying Gmail, Chrome and other cool freebies, it's easy to forget that Google are actually a multinational behemoth and have an army of legal-weasels dedicated to copyright infringement, EULAs, and all that yucky stuff.

I'm hardly surprised that such a page exists - of course it does - but the following piece I found interesting.

This use must be unaltered: You can't superimpose graphics, photos, or ad copy on the screenshot or change the look of the screen-captured image in any other way.

And this also...

Please note that using a screenshot of a Google search results page in connection with advertising your products or services (for instance, showing a top ranking on Google) is not considered instructive or illustrative, and therefore is not permitted.

Pretty clear. SEO and web design companies who use screenshots as 'advertising' is a clear-cut violation of these terms.

I know I have done this in the past, and I'd wager that there are some pretty big SEO companies out there using Google screenshots as advertising, or altered screenshots to illustrate a point clearer.
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Tags: Googlelegal