If images distributed under the GPL are shown on a TV program, can anyone then legally modify, sell, and distribute the episode under the GPL?.
Almost certainly not. Fair use.
How is that fair use? It is not an excerpt (it’s the entire work), nor is it for the purposes of commentary, reporting, scholarship, or research.
While IANALY (I am not a lawyer yet, I can say with some pretty good authority that the creation of a derivative work (which would invoke the virus-clause of the GPL hinges upon how much of the original work was used, and how much of the new work is constituted by original work (including overal effect, meaning, etc.). By this standard, there is a low likelihood of being able to distribute freely copy or distribute that episode of 24 Hours. As for fair use, other important factors to be considered include the transformative nature of the use (this cuts in favor of fair use here) and the degree to which the use affects the market for the original work (this also cuts in favor of fair use because an episode of 24 Hours is not a good substitute for computer icons).
This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.