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Policies & Practices > Author Images

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message 1: by Burris (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:21PM) (new)

Burris (theburris) | 1 comments Um...so what is the deal with all the copyright mumbo jumbo? What is a safe way of posting an Author image? because frankly, an author profile without a picture feels incomplete and boring. Am I right?


message 2: by Johnny (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:13PM) (new)

Johnny (Johnnyfunk) | 1 comments I've been uploading images that are in the public domain or those for which permission has been given. Wikipedia is a good source, just be sure to check the licensing info.


message 3: by Joe (new)

Joe (MrJoeAtGoodreads) | 1 comments Does the same policy work for book covers? I'd assume it's "fair use," so we don't really need to worry about it. I tried to find the answer, and I think it's here (which, interestingly enough, talks about "librarians" and "good reads"):

http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/a...

Some other links before I got to my answer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedi...

http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum44...

http://legalminds.lp.findlaw.com/list...

http://www.centerforsocialmedia.org/r...

http://www.kdla.ky.gov/libsupport/lib...


message 4: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 26711 comments Mod
Seems like a perfect example of fair use to me (just as you and the article said).

Pictures of people, especially living people, are protected under additional laws, not just copyright. So fair use is not sufficient defense.


message 5: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (Rowenacherry) | 27 comments I am an author. Most authors and their publishers will gladly give permission for their covers to be posted, but the permission should be sought.

Why?

Often, a cover shows a cover model. A real person's image, and his contract may have only licensed limited rights.

Therefore, if the cover model didn't agree that his bare chest (for instance) could adorn T-shirts, coffee mugs, pillow cases etc, then all sorts of people could be sued.

If the cover is a photograph, the photographer has rights, even if he took a picture of the Washington Monument... he still had artistic input in choice of lighting, shade etc.

So, ask.
:-)


message 6: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 26711 comments Mod
"T-shirts, coffee mugs, pillow cases etc" are all commercial uses, and therefore fair use would not apply.


message 7: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (Rowenacherry) | 27 comments Rivka,

One would certainly think so, I agree, but technology has reached the point where almost anyone can lift an image onto their desktop, flip it, buy a pack of transfers from the local office supply shop, and create their own decorated items.

If they did not sell it, they might not define it as commercial. I've had conversations with people who honestly believe that if they can import it to their own desktop, it is theirs to use as they please.


Rowena


message 8: by Beth (last edited Jan 15, 2009 11:59AM) (new)

Beth Dufraine (sugarcookie263) | 4 comments Mary Quast has given me authorization to use her book jacket photo here on Goodreads for her profile. Since I'm waiting on librarian approval, I thought maybe someone could download the appropriate size needed and upload it to Goodreads for me. Thanks. I have them located here:

600x773

235x303

or a smaller 80x100 thumbnail size.



message 9: by Melody (new)

Melody (runningtune) | 7084 comments I added it and posted this comment as copyright info.


message 10: by Beth (new)

Beth Dufraine (sugarcookie263) | 4 comments Ok, thank you Melody.


message 11: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant | 63 comments I'd like to ask fellow librarians if you've actually emailed anyone a request to use a particular author photo and what response did you get?


message 12: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 26711 comments Mod
Yes. But it helps that I'm related to the author in question. ;)


message 13: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 575 comments I emailed Eileen Wilks about using "publicity photos" she had on her website. She was very nice about it. She responded quickly and she thanked me for asking. I get the impression she may sign up as a GR Author in the future.

I also wrote to another author about a bio. He was also very good about getting back to me and giving me the information I requested. Took a bit longer, in this case, but he was recovering from surgery at the time.


message 14: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse I asked a writer on their blog once and they pointed out that the photo belonged to the publicity people, and I should email them. But they really didn't seem to like the idea of being on GR at all--some books were listed as theirs which weren't--and the response was so cold that I stopped visiting their blog. Which hasn't encouraged me to try that again!


message 15: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant | 63 comments Let me then ask a different version of this question : have we ever been busted? Has anyone in the history of Goodreads (long, distinguished) ever said "Oi, you there - yes you! That's my picture! What are you doing with it, you orrible book-lovers! Get it off your foul website immediately!"


message 16: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2373 comments Paul, I don't know. But in my opinion I'd like GR to avoid that happening so I err on the careful side.


message 17: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 26711 comments Mod
It would open up GR to a lawsuit.


message 18: by Cait (new)

Cait (tigercait) | 5005 comments That's why there's all of the copyright warnings on the place where you can upload an author picture and why you have to leave justification, since it's not like cover art where being a book review site is the fair use justification. If someone sues GR for using an image of them as an author image, GR can pin down the librarian who actually did it.


message 19: by Monissa (new)

Monissa | 20 comments Oh. Oh. Oh. Fair use isn't determined by whether you're making money from it. It's *a* determining factor, sure, along with the purpose (you've got more wiggle room with educational materials) and the amount of the item used. If you include a short quote in a texbook and sell if for a profit, that's most likely covered by fair use. If you scan in someone's picture, print out 500 copies and give them away on the street, that's naughty. Don't do it.

Contracts for artwork should have a clause saying how they can be used, but they need to allow for reproduction of the *cover* for promotional purposes or the publisher/booksellers wouldn't be able to put it on their website, include it in promotioanl material etc. Note there is a difference here betwen the cover (image + other stuff) and the image by istelf. You might have the right to reproduce the cover but not the artwork by itself.

(Disclaimer, I'm not a lawyer and this stuff varies by country etc, but I spend too much time reading copright & contract sites and it starts to rub off. www.copyright.gov is the US site to start with, only it can get a bit heavy on the legalese in places.)


message 20: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse The owner of the rights in the image only needs to send a DRM notice and bang! picture gone :).


message 21: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant | 63 comments I'm back with another one - if we upload a perfectly nice author picture and someone (agent, whoever) complains, surely they can't sue us because Goodreads is actually promoting this author by making a nice author profile that will encourage readers. Why would they want to sue us for a photo if they can't sue us for the many many defamatory reviews we publish here? Doesn't make sense to me.


message 22: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 26711 comments Mod
Because they have to defend the copyright on the photo or else lose it. Additionally, the picture rights may or may not belong to the author or the agent; many times it belongs to the photographer.


message 23: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Donaghy | 69 comments Paul wrote: "Let me then ask a different version of this question : have we ever been busted? Has anyone in the history of Goodreads (long, distinguished) ever said "Oi, you there - yes you! That's my picture! ..."

Yes, but this is rare. We've had complaints about photos, and also one complaint from a writer who wasn't given credit for writing an author biography (not his own). So if you are copy/pasting author bios from other sources, please make an attempt to find/cite the source at the bottom of the bio. Thanks for being so thorough, everyone!



message 24: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Because information doesn't want to be free.


message 25: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 26711 comments Mod
Pictures (particularly of a living individual) are not merely information.


message 26: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse In this context they are.


message 27: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 26711 comments Mod
*shrug* I disagree.


message 28: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (LisaVegan) | 2373 comments Most importantly, there are many instances where the "owner" of the photo disagrees, and that could cause problems for Goodreads, so being careful to use public domain or getting proper permission to use a photo is important.


message 29: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 26711 comments Mod
Well said.


message 30: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Well, no, the owner of the rights in the photo could quite properly disagree using copyright law. I doubt they would go into court saying, "A photo isn't just information!" That wouldn't help their case.


message 31: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 26711 comments Mod
Copyright law is based on the premise that not all information is equal. Also, pictures of living persons are not only protected by copyright law but also by privacy laws. At least in the US.


message 32: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant | 63 comments I confess I'm still mystified why Goodreads would be nervous of showing a nice photo of an author whilst at the same time publishing the most scurrilous and insulting reviews! It's kind of a contradiction, don't you think?


message 33: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 26711 comments Mod
The former could get them sued and the second is protected by free speech. Also, any review that you think is inappropriate can be flagged for GR's review.


message 34: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant | 63 comments No no, I enjoy scurrilous and grossly insulting reviews! I've written a couple myself!


message 35: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Privacy laws? We don't have no privacy laws! But in any case, that doesn't further the argument. A photo can be protected by law and still be information.


message 36: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 26711 comments Mod
Paul wrote: "No no, I enjoy scurrilous and grossly insulting reviews! I've written a couple myself!"

What was your point again?


SF SQRL wrote: "A photo can be protected by law and still be information."

Of course. I never said it wasn't information. I said it was not only information.


message 37: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse In which case, I wonder what else it is.


message 38: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 26711 comments Mod
Art.

A piece of the person's soul. ;)


message 39: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse ah! metaphysics :D


message 40: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 575 comments What about the case where the author's picture is on the back of the book? Because we're allowed to use the cover image, would that extend to the back of the book, as well?


message 41: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse I'm no expert, but there's probably a difference between using the photo in context--ie if GR displayed the whole of the cover--and using the photo out of its context. Copyright is strange.


message 42: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 575 comments Thanks! I was just curious. The authors I know that have pictures like that on the book already have profile pictures in place.


message 43: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 26711 comments Mod
SF SQRL wrote: "I'm no expert, but there's probably a difference between using the photo in context--ie if GR displayed the whole of the cover--and using the photo out of its context."

Pretty sure that is correct.


message 44: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant | 63 comments Rivka - I confess I'm still mystified why Goodreads would be nervous of showing a nice flattering photo of an author whilst at the same time NOT being nervous about publishing the most scurrilous and insulting reviews! It's kind of a contradiction, don't you think? Okay - one is protected by free speech and the other might just possibly enrage the photographer as he thinks we are stealing the bread out of the mouths of his children (something like that.) But I confess I find the juxtaposition remarkable.



message 45: by jenjn79 (last edited Feb 26, 2009 12:29PM) (new)

jenjn79 (isisfg) | 565 comments I don't really understand your confusion. What does a negative review have to do with permission to use an author's photograph? Reviews are a matter of opinion. Period. There's nothing wrong with expressing an opinion. An author may not like it, they may get snippy (which I've seen) but they can't do anything about it because expressing an opinion is protected by Free Speech. If the reviewer engaged in malicious gossip about the AUTHOR, then there could be a problem. I've seen first hand Goodreads step in in those situations.


message 46: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Eh, your review is your information; you can give it away if you want. Someone else's photograph isn't for you to give away.


message 47: by Paul (last edited Feb 26, 2009 03:16PM) (new)

Paul Bryant | 63 comments It's not confusion, the issues are clear enough, but it's a strange thing. On the one hand, take Sarah's famous review of The Lovely Bones

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/....

If you haven't read it, you should, it's devastating. It may well have put many many people off reading that particular novel. I know it put me off. But the author can't complain about that. Then, consider a really pleasant photo of the author which a librarian puts onto Alice Sebold's profile. This is in order to render the author page more friendly and attractive, more human - it verges on promotion. But this act of niceness by Goodreads, this is the thing we're afraid the author or someone may possibly get annoyed about - even to the extent of suing! Alice can't sue us for saying she's the world's worst novelist but she can sue us for putting up a photo of her looking cool. You have to admit it's just a little bit topsyturvy.


message 48: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse The author may well also get annoyed about the review, but they have little-to-no legal recourse there. Wrt the photograph, their options range from getting the whole site kicked off the net as the host over-reacts to an accusation of copyright infringement to a DRM notice to a lawsuit.


JG (The Introverted Reader) | 461 comments Since we're talking about copyright stuff...

What is safe to put in the book synopsis? I've mostly steered clear of it because I've never been sure.


message 50: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 26711 comments Mod
Fair use is a bit murkier there. Pretty much any synopsis you write yourself would be protected by safe use; synopses from the book itself (back cover, inside flaps, etc.) are probably safe (but can actually be separately copyrighted).

I always figure that if I find it elsewhere on the net, on a large site (Google Books, Abe Books, Fantastic Fiction, etc.) that it's probably safe. Also, anything a author/publisher has asked us to put up (and there are quite a few of these) is fine. And GR has an agreement with Amazon, which has an agreement with many publishers -- that's where many of the summaries come from.


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Mary Quast (other topics)