Friday, February 23, 2007

Copywrite Questions

I got a comment from an anonymous poster on my last post about Head, Body, Legs asking if I wasn't violating copywrite. My response is that a book review is considered "fair use" so I don't think so. But what about the pictures? I photographed the open book in order to show the beautiful illustrations. Is that a copywrite violation? I notice the Amazon page for that book has illustrations in their new "share your customer images" feature. I didn't share those images and I have no idea who did. Are they posted by Amazon with author's permission or did another customer send them in?

I notice in my sitemeter that a lot of people visit here after searching Google images for book pictures. When I review a book I usually post an image of the cover by copying a link from a bookstore or publisher's site into blogger's upload image window. I am not actually uploading the image from my computer and I don't have control over it - the linked site could take it down at anytime, leaving my blog with an empty hole in the image slot. But if someone is looking for a picture of The Other Side, for example, they find my blog. I don't really understand why that is... shouldn't they find Amazon, like I usually do?

Another question is why they get the whole archive of November when that image is searched. That's the new blogger and I don't think it's all that helpful. Who wants to have to scroll through the whole month to find that one post at the bottom of the page? But that's a whole other issue...

Anyway I would love to hear your opinions about whether I am breaking copywrite by posting pictures of the books I review. What do you think?


Susan said...

Cloudscome, you ask a question that I wonder about frequently. It's why I don't post whole poems on my blog unless the copyright has expired. My understanding is that one or two lines is okay, but more than that is not.

I am no lawyer, but my guess is that posting your photos of a book's illustrations probably does violate copyright. Because people are coming to your blog to get the images (possibly), that could affect the sales potential of the book.

I'm glad you're talking about this, because I want to know about copyright, too.

Some resources

Grace Lin said...

I'm not sure of the legalities, but as an author and illustrator I'm always happy when people post about my books and show some images. It's not as if you are showing the images and claiming you created them, posting the entire book page by page, or are using the images to promote something else--if anything you are promoting the book; and that's all good for author and illustrator.So I say, post away!

LauraHinNJ said...

Very interesting question and one I worry about.

Maybe it's sophmoric of me, but I figure that so long as I give credit and make it obvious that the photo or poem or whatever is not my own, I think I'm okay.

Would love to know if you ever discover an answer.

molly_o said...

The cover of the book is *definitely* covered by fair use; more extensive posting ... I think Susan's correct that it depends on what proportion of the work is posted. One or two pages of a 20-page book, posted in order to give the reader a sense of an illustrator's style, is probably fine; more than 10 percent of the total book might get you into trouble. (Well, it probably won't get you into trouble, because it's unlikely the copyright holder will pursue legal action, but it might be a violation of copyright.)