View Full Version : E-book cover question

11-10-2011, 01:15 AM
I'm been working on my cover for a few days but I read something today that made me stop in my tracks. So I have a question - if I download any images from free websites - like wallpapers and desktop backgrounds for example, can I use them on my cover? They are free for everyone to download, so I'm guessing they are royalty free?

11-10-2011, 01:18 AM
A great many of them have stolen art in the first place, or art that is for personal non-commerical use only.

So, no. You need to be able to demonstrate that all the images you use are copyright free, not just assume it.

Also "royalty free" doesn't mean "free free". It means you pay once for multiple uses up to a cap.

11-10-2011, 01:23 AM
Thanks for the quick reply! There are quite a few sites out there who offer "free images for personal and commercial" use. Are they OK? And how do I know if something is copyright free?

11-10-2011, 01:35 AM
If the pictures are posted by the photographer and state permitted uses (stock xchng, morgue file etc) yes they are fine. It would be wise to take a screen shot of the page for your records in case it later vanishes.

I would also suggest doing a tin eye or google image search just to check the poster really is the photographer. Paranoid, but... better safe.

11-10-2011, 01:44 AM
Thanks a lot for the advice, as you can say, I'm very new at this :) I'll double check every image I've used, just in case.

11-10-2011, 01:51 AM
Another way to find less heavily used images is to approach the photographer or artist and ask for permission for credit or a token fee. Not all will say yes but on a site like deviantart, many will.

11-10-2011, 02:00 AM
Check out the license agreement and legal information on the website, as well. I frequently use Shutterstock and Jupiter Images and they have a specific way they want credit to be given for the stock images.

11-10-2011, 04:10 AM
Flickr has a large source of free photos you can use thanks to a creative commons license:

Today Flickr announced they have 200 million Creative Commons licensed photos (http://blog.flickr.net/en/2011/10/05/200-million-creative-commons-photos-and-counting/) on the popular photo-sharing site. Writers can explore this massive repository to find free photos to use in book covers, blog posts and book illustrations.

If you want to use these photos in your work, you should go to Flickr’s advanced search (http://www.flickr.com/search/advanced/) function. Scroll down and check three boxes before you search: “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content,” “Find content to use commercially,” “Find content to modify, adapt, or build upon.”

Once you have selected those three categories, you can search by keywords to find free images to use in your work. Be sure to follow the license and attribution rules dictated by the individual photographers. Follow this link (http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/) to learn more about Creative Commons licenses on Flickr.

(This article's a couple months old).

11-10-2011, 04:38 AM
Heads up on the Creative Commons on Flickr, that there isn't any specifics for commercial use. There are different licenses available as to HOW you're using the image, WHAT you're using it on and HOW MANY impressions you will have.

I would highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend obtaining photos from stock image sites (istockphoto, dreamstime, shutterstock, etc.) Paying a small amount of $$ for an image is worth the protection that you have the proper licensing on it, and the image is from a reputable source.

I would hate to put out a book and a year later when its sold 500,000 copies, you find out that "free" image off Flickr was actually stolen from a photographer's website.

11-10-2011, 06:55 PM
There are many free and low-cost photo-sharing sites out there--just do a search. You can also easily create your own backgrounds and wallpapers with a photo-editing program.

Brian January
http://amzn.com/B005WM0HN6 (http://amzn.com/B005WM0HN6)
http://amzn.com/B006QCZF3S (http://amzn.com/B006QCZF3S)

11-10-2011, 08:22 PM
Generally on Flickr you can contact the owner of the photo and ask for permission. Most will say yes and few would charge you (though as a photographer I like to be paid for stuff if someone is willing to pay for it... :) )