Friday, July 13, 2012

photo copyright & all that jazz

It has come to my attention that the validity of one of the images I use for one of my books has come into question. While I was not accused of outright stealing, the issue of copyright definitely came up. This is something I have clarified before, and will take the time to clarify again. 

Every single picture used on the covers of my books is purchased from

Yes, you read that correctly. Purchased. I never spend a lot on the pictures (generally never more than $4) but with that purchase I automatically agree to a usage agreement which can be viewed HERE.

On the right hand sign there a list of "Generally Permitted Uses"

Five down on that list is "book cover"

A few things NOT permitted:

  • products where the photo or image really IS your product
  • products where the image is a main definitive part of your distributed product
  • posters
  • art prints
  • paintings
  • postcards
  • e-cards

Since I am not selling women in beautiful dresses, I can confidently say I am honoring the usage agreement. The agreement goes on to say:

Bigstock and/or the various artists who provide Images to Bigstock ("Contributors") own all rights, including the copyrights in and to the Images. Bigstock and/or its Contributors reserve all rights in and to the Images not expressly granted to you by the terms of this Agreement. Your rights to use any Image are subject to this Agreement and are conditioned upon your payment to Bigstock for your use of the Images.

I find an image I like, I purchase the image, I use the image for my book cover. In the copyright section of all my books I take care to note that the cover art came from and what user supplied it. The thing is, often I don't know who originally took the photo. All I know is the username of the person who sold it to bigstockphoto (and often to a variety of other stock imaging sights). 

Not many things annoy me. Being accused, however subtly, of taking a photograph without permission, IS something that makes me want to grit my teeth. So there you have it -- ALL of the pictures I used are bought and paid for from a legitimate site that makes money selling said photographs. Since these photographs are available to the public, occasionally they pop up on other book covers, which I don't have a problem with. Share and share alike, I say, as long as you obtained it legally. 

Slightly irritated author over and out. 

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