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01-18-2014, 12:06 PM   #1
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Usage Rights Question

Aside from photography, I occasionally do some graphic design.

An author commissioned a book cover from me last year, and has rehired me to do her second book's cover. They purchased the rights to use a photo direct from the photographer as the central element on the cover. No problem so far.

As part of the first book contract between myself and the author, I retained the right to show the cover as an example of my graphic design work.

However with the second cover, she is uncertain if we can do that because she doesn't think she is "...allowed to convey that particular right to use the photo, as the photo is not mine".

I would agree if I was planning to sell copies of the cover, but that's already (and rightfully) nixed in the contract. I'm simply showing the cover as an example of for-hire work.

So I am wondering if anyone here has had a like experience, how they handled it, as well as any general opinions on the matter.

This all just popped up this morning

Thanks folks.

01-18-2014, 12:54 PM   #2
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Hi

My 2 cents. You can advertise your product Just use a different photo. You are a graphic designer I am sure you can edit the photo out? Asides change all other aspects like book name etc. Well the person who is getting the job done - Is not buying exclusive right to the "Layout of the design" - Right?

Cheers!
01-18-2014, 01:03 PM   #3
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No I can't edit it out, as I say it is the central element of the cover. Ty though
01-18-2014, 01:10 PM   #4
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Why don't you ask the author to amend her contract with the photographer? Even just an email may be sufficient to convey acceptance. I've done work for hire, but always retained the rights to show everything for portfolio purposes.

M

01-18-2014, 01:11 PM   #5
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It depends how you show your work. Certainly you could just "point to the book" (on Amazon or whatever) or have a photograph of the physical book rather than just the design. (The book isn't secret, right? It is out in the world.) If you have a physical portfolio with pages, you can probably get away with anything since it isn't being reproduced, although you could again just use an actual book cover if you wanted. And I would be sure to always point out that the photographer wasn't yours.

Last edited by vonBaloney; 01-18-2014 at 01:18 PM.
01-18-2014, 01:55 PM   #6
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Miguel: Thanks - that's something I considered, but before potentially stirring anything up I wanted to see what the general consensus was.

VonB - yes, my thoughts exactly. The book is out there, so there should be no reason I couldn't show it as part of my portfolio. But you know the old adage about (ass)(u)(me), lol.

Thanks everyone, keep 'em coming!
01-18-2014, 02:00 PM   #7
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May be a stupid question, but did you sell the copyrights?
01-18-2014, 02:37 PM   #8
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Is the photographer averse to your showing your work, which also obviously advertises his/her work too? Perhaps you can reach an agreement with him/her, according to which you include his/her name and contact info when you show the cover. It's to both of your advantages that the cover get as much exposure as possible....

01-18-2014, 02:44 PM   #9
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Not that I have any specific guidance or suggestions for you, however there are quite a few derivative questions that tie into this. So, along with your "use" of the book cover, how about some additional uses.I would think that "fair use", and "useful article", would help here.

Ultimately, I would think that the best approach would be that, since the author has already purchased a copyright license to the image for the cover, that they approach the copyright owner for clarification in terms of these other uses. In this way they are all spelled out and everyone is covered. Also, in terms of these uses, its really not an expansion of the current license, since a reasonable person would expect that the use of the image on a book cover would be used in these way.

Also, so that everyone is clear - I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV (and certainly not giving legal advice).

01-19-2014, 05:49 AM   #10
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Thank you everyone. I'll be meeting with the author shortly and we'll discuss how best to pursue this.

I appreciate the assist.
01-21-2014, 05:47 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by sholtzma Quote
Is the photographer averse to your showing your work, which also obviously advertises his/her work too? Perhaps you can reach an agreement with him/her, according to which you include his/her name and contact info when you show the cover.
I like this approach. Bring the photographer in on the deal. Maybe give them photo credits when you show your portfolio. Even though you're not making money directly from the photo (as in selling prints or something), you have crossed over into new area. Now, the photo is being used in advertising via your portfolio. It seems minor, but it really boils down to how big of a stink the photographer wants to make of it.
01-21-2014, 08:10 AM   #12
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Thanks everyone. It all worked out and your suggestions provide some additional backup for the opinions I expressed to the author.
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