Copyright and Book Covers

Henry Cavill in The Tudors

I don’t mean to do this to shame an author (which is why I’ve cut the bottom of the book cover below off), but I have another thing to say about authors and copyright.

Authors: putting a promotional still of a Hollywood actor Henry Cavill on your cover is illegal. A copyright violation. Totally not allowed. People have been taken to court and forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars for doing less than this.

You CANNOT make money off something you have no legal right to.

I was browsing review books the other night, and did a double-take when I saw this cover:

Compare it to the image at the top of this post.

Google image search doesn’t mean images are a free-for-all. I’ve had people download my pictures from Canberra (some from my own garden!), upload them all over the internet as their own pictures, and say they’re Sydney! Apart from the fact I sell some of those images, and so REALLY don’t want other people taking an income away from me… Well, actually you can figure out why I hate people stealing my things.

This book cover is no different. You can’t just find a pretty image and use it. Authors would be horrified if someone stole their writing, but some are okay stealing someone’s pictures. It’s especially odd if its an image of a person who has no idea their face is being used to promote someone’s work.

This happened here recently. A teenage girl walked into a popular clothing chain and discovered one of their designers had downloaded a photograph OF HER from her Instagram account and put it on their products. Imagine if that was you.

These days there are heaps of websites where authors and publishers can find legal cover images. However, promotional stills of the gorgeous Henry Cavill in the supremely trashy and anachronistic The Tudors is not an option.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the producer of The Tudors is the author’s son, or close, personal friend, and gave her permission to use it. Somehow, though, I doubt it.

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One thought on “Copyright and Book Covers

  1. Pingback: The Week: 1st – 7th May – Sonya's Stuff

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