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Bo Sullivan
09-12-2007, 12:13 AM
I was amicably released yesterday from Publish America, for my two books The King's Quinto: The Life and Times of Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618) and Oscar Defoe and the Victorian Workhouse (1834).

Does anyone know anything about copyright, as my two book covers were made by Publish America using my own pencil drawings. They say the book covers are their copyright. I say the drawings are my copyright. Who is correct? If I want to use those drawings for my new bookcovers with another publisher, will I be able to do so? The King's Quinto displays my portrait of Le Dauphin Francois (the French Prince who went on to become King of France and married Mary Queen of Scots; the Oscar Defoe book displays my portrait of Charles Dickens.)

I have written back to them pointing out their error.

Any advice will be gratefully received.

Thanks,

Barbara

allenparker
09-12-2007, 12:17 AM
Their copyright. They collected the back cover, front art and cover, and the rest of the cover. They may have used part of what you created, but the whole is their creation.

Just a guess, however. IANAL

Bo Sullivan
09-12-2007, 12:20 AM
Thanks Alan, but have my drawings become their copyright? I am very worried. I know their layout is of their design, but they used my wording for the synopsis.

eh?

Bo Sullivan
09-12-2007, 12:36 AM
For instance, I originally wanted to use a portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh from the National Portrait Gallery for my book cover for The King's Quinto. Instead I used my own drawing due to the cost factor. If PA had used a National Portrait Gallery painting image, they would not own copyright in the painting. Why then do they say they have copyright over my drawing?

Saundra Julian
09-12-2007, 01:23 AM
I think you make a very good point, Duped...seek legal council!

Popeyesays
09-12-2007, 01:32 AM
Just because they own the copyright to the "cover" does not mean they own cop[yright to your illustration. You cannot use the COVER, but you could use the art work and dow you own cover.

As long as the cover is substantially different, there should not be a problem. Consult a lawyer.

After all they use licensed clipart on their covers regularly and that does not mean the clip art images SEPARATELY are 'used up" for making other book covers.

Regards,
Scott

Del
09-12-2007, 01:58 AM
You have to check the paperwork...probably the fine print. Did you give away the rights to your art? If it isn't part of your contract then the drawing is still yours. The layout is theirs.

Suggestion, use your drawing in another layout. Suggestion two, draw the same drawing again and use it in another layout.

Anything you use your own talent to draw is your copyright (tracing does not a talent make), even if it is of something copyrighted. No one can stop you from drawing or using your own work.

The cover doesn't look all that complicated. Avoid the issue and make a new one.

Disclaimer: the views expressed here are those of the poster and not endorsed by Publish America, The Library of Congress or Sir Walter Raleigh.

veinglory
09-12-2007, 02:47 AM
Both.

The drawing are yours, the cover is theirs. You can use your drawing to make new covers.

You know the drawings are yours because you didn't sign anything that transfered the copyright, right?

JulieB
09-12-2007, 03:19 AM
Yeah, I suspect you can use your drawing, but change the cover design and completely rewrite you cover copy. If nothing else, you want to set it apart from the previous book.

Bo Sullivan
09-12-2007, 03:43 AM
Thank you for your replies.

brianm
09-12-2007, 04:31 AM
Both.

The drawing are yours, the cover is theirs. You can use your drawing to make new covers.

You know the drawings are yours because you didn't sign anything that transfered the copyright, right?

I agree with, VG.

Unless you, the artist, signed away or sold your rights to those illustrations, you hold the copyright. You allowed PA to use them on the covers of your books, but they don't own the drawings which you created.

Congrats on finally being released. That's wonderful news!

Bo Sullivan
09-12-2007, 02:35 PM
I agree with, VG.

Unless you, the artist, signed away or sold your rights to those illustrations, you hold the copyright. You allowed PA to use them on the covers of your books, but they don't own the drawings which you created.

Congrats on finally being released. That's wonderful news!

Thanks Brianm

Nefertiti Baker
09-12-2007, 04:23 PM
Thank goodness they finally released you!

You know, the cynical, cold heart of me thinks that they hope to confuse you by being unclear. PA can't possibly be straightforward and specific, I suppose. I think they they believe that keeping their mouths shut = lovely, new, free artwork for their collection!

Komnena
09-12-2007, 04:59 PM
Duped
Congratulations on your release!

brianm
09-12-2007, 06:33 PM
Thank goodness they finally released you!

You know, the cynical, cold heart of me thinks that they hope to confuse you by being unclear. PA can't possibly be straightforward and specific, I suppose. I think they they believe that keeping their mouths shut = lovely, new, free artwork for their collection!

My guess is that they haven't a clue where those drawings came from and just assumed they came from one of the online clipart sites they troll for their covers.

Barbara, I looked at the inside cover of one of your books and it indicates the drawings are by you. Since the words and drawings are by you and you hold the copyrights, PA can claim anything they want but you own those drawings and may use them in the future as you please.

Unless, you specifically signed a document transferring the copyrights of those drawings to PA...

Bo Sullivan
09-12-2007, 07:17 PM
Well I hope my drawings haven't gone into their clipart collection. They didn't answer me when I e-mailed them to say that the drawings are mine.

Thanks Brianm - no, I didn't sign away any copyright away, so I should be ok.

brianm
09-12-2007, 07:25 PM
Thanks Brianm - no, I didn't sign away any copyright away, so I should be ok.

That answers your question. They are yours and you don't need an answer from PA.

Best wishes in your future endeavors with these books.

Bo Sullivan
09-12-2007, 07:58 PM
That answers your question. They are yours and you don't need an answer from PA.

Best wishes in your future endeavors with these books.

Do you think I should change the titles before they are re-published or leave them as they are? Or would people connect those titles to PA?

James D. Macdonald
09-12-2007, 10:24 PM
Discuss the titles with your new editor at your new publisher.

Tina
09-12-2007, 11:22 PM
I was amicably released yesterday from Publish America, for my two books The King's Quinto: The Life and Times of Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618) and Oscar Defoe and the Victorian Workhouse (1834).
Barbara

Hooray, hooray!

You deserve so much better! Congrats.

Tina

brianm
09-13-2007, 12:30 AM
Discuss the titles with your new editor at your new publisher.

Like Jim says, don't worry about titles and book covers. Work on making the corrections to the manuscripts and submitting them to legit publishers.

Marlys
09-13-2007, 12:59 AM
Well, there's a bit of a grey area when it comes to art. If your sketches are of preexisting artwork (like your Dauphin Francois, which seems to be a copy of a piece attributed to Clouet (http://souverainsdefrance.free.fr/image-2545.jpg)), they might be considered "derivative works" and not copyrightable at all unless you can demonstrate that they're substantially different from the original.

Which won't make much of a difference if the original image is in public domain, but if the museum or gallery that owns it requires that you get permission to use it, you might need to reach an agreement with them. You can't make your own copy--either using a Xerox machine or a pencil--of someone else's art and claim it as your own.

Either way, PA certainly has no claim over your drawings, so don't worry about that. Best of luck finding a new publisher.

Bo Sullivan
09-13-2007, 02:09 AM
Well, there's a bit of a grey area when it comes to art. If your sketches are of preexisting artwork (like your Dauphin Francois, which seems to be a copy of a piece attributed to Clouet (http://souverainsdefrance.free.fr/image-2545.jpg)), they might be considered "derivative works" and not copyrightable at all unless you can demonstrate that they're substantially different from the original.

Which won't make much of a difference if the original image is in public domain, but if the museum or gallery that owns it requires that you get permission to use it, you might need to reach an agreement with them. You can't make your own copy--either using a Xerox machine or a pencil--of someone else's art and claim it as your own.

Either way, PA certainly has no claim over your drawings, so don't worry about that. Best of luck finding a new publisher.


Yes, I drew my own copies of the French Royal family from the Medici period by looking at the Francois Clouet drawings, you are correct about that, and there are seven of them. I don't know what size Clouet's original drawings are, but mine are 16" x 12" drawn in pencil. I think Clouet's drawings hang in the Louvre.

Barbara

DaveKuzminski
09-13-2007, 03:36 AM
If PA uses those drawings, it doesn't matter if they're derivative or not. PA doesn't have the right to use them again so keep watching PA book covers. They just might give you a substantial deposit for your bank account. If the drawings are considered too derivative and the copyright is still in force for them, then let the owner of the original drawings know about the misuse and enrich their bank account.

brianm
09-13-2007, 08:19 AM
Well, there's a bit of a grey area when it comes to art. If your sketches are of preexisting artwork (like your Dauphin Francois, which seems to be a copy of a piece attributed to Clouet (http://souverainsdefrance.free.fr/image-2545.jpg)), they might be considered "derivative works" and not copyrightable at all unless you can demonstrate that they're substantially different from the original.

Which won't make much of a difference if the original image is in public domain, but if the museum or gallery that owns it requires that you get permission to use it, you might need to reach an agreement with them. You can't make your own copy--either using a Xerox machine or a pencil--of someone else's art and claim it as your own.

Either way, PA certainly has no claim over your drawings, so don't worry about that. Best of luck finding a new publisher.

Good eye and good advice.

Bo Sullivan
09-13-2007, 02:33 PM
Thanks for your advice and replies.