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Author Topic: Accepting Submissions for a Donald Trump Flash Fiction Anthology, publish 1/20  (Read 14948 times)  

Offline MarilynVix

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Just a funny coincidence. I don't really think anybody will hold a detail like that against it.
I think it actually was a moth they named after him. But yeah. It's weird how the things we wrote out of fun are coming true slowly but surely. Kind of weird that way. Satire shouldn't be reality, or should it?

Offline wearywanderer64

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Is there still time to post stories?

Offline George Donnelly

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OMG, finally, a decent cover. Any feedback for the designer?

« Last Edit: January 28, 2017, 10:18:02 AM by GeorgeDonnelly »
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Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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I think his hair is parted on the other side  :D

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Offline SC

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OMG, finally, a decent cover. Any feedback for the designer?

Well, it does come across as definitely anti-Trump, which is fine if that's all the anthology contains, but you didn't mention anything about that in your original post about what the goal of the anthology was.

Also, other than the word "anthology", it isn't very clear what this book is. In your original post, you called it a flash fiction anthology. I'd recommend putting "flash fiction anthology" on the cover. (Or "short story anthology" or whatever the stories you ended up with turned out to be.)

Offline ThomasDiehl

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I think his hair is parted on the other side  :D
Here's the original 2015 photo this seems to be based on, this seems to be correct. Though that is a differently colored tie, so we may never know.
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Offline Spinneyhead

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Quite a striking cover. I might make the Pres larger and/or move him and the strapline up, or enlarge the title and move the strap down. I think either would make the balance of the cover work better.

Whatever the design, I imagine somebody would be offended by it, so go for it if you're happy with it.

Offline MarilynVix

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OMG, finally, a decent cover. Any feedback for the designer?

I'm not sure if "The Best Trump Anthology Ever" is the best subtitle. If we have to tell people that, it means it isn't? I'm guessing your trying to satire it up, but saying it's a Flash Fiction Anthology might be better use of the subtitle. That way people will expect short fictional stories about Trump in the book. Right now, it's hard to know exactly what kind of fiction it is. Other than that, it looks great.

Offline MarilynVix

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I think his hair is parted on the other side  :D
Making some things different than the real image might be better to give it a fictional quality. Just saying.

Offline Abderian

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Looks unbalanced to me. I would move the subtitle below the image. Also, I think it should have the editor on the cover.

Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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I thought you would go with something like the cartoon cover of the book in my sig (But Can You Drink the Water?). The graphic artist incorporated many elements of the story. You could also put elements from some of the stories on the cover. It definitely needs the American flag - America first!
« Last Edit: January 28, 2017, 10:08:20 PM by Jan Hurst-Nicholson »

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Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Here's the original 2015 photo this seems to be based on, this seems to be correct. Though that is a differently colored tie, so we may never know.


That's not the parting. That's the carefully combed over bit  :D

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Offline Becca Mills

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Do you need to have rights to use the photo the illustration is based on? The guy who make the famous Obama "HOPE" image got in all sorts of trouble for using a copyrighted image as the basis for his illustration. I guess it depends on how much the image is "transformed" by the photo --> illustration process. I think yours looks much more transformed than the Obama one, but it'd still make me a bit nervous.


Offline Bill Hiatt

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Do you need to have rights to use the photo the illustration is based on? The guy who make the famous Obama "HOPE" image got in all sorts of trouble for using a copyrighted image as the basis for his illustration. I guess it depends on how much the image is "transformed" by the photo --> illustration process. I think yours looks much more transformed than the Obama one, but it'd still make me a bit nervous.
From that standpoint it would probably be better to have a drawing of Trump that isn't quite so reminiscent of a photo to which we don't have the rights. Why borrow trouble?


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Offline SC

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Do you need to have rights to use the photo the illustration is based on? The guy who make the famous Obama "HOPE" image got in all sorts of trouble for using a copyrighted image as the basis for his illustration. I guess it depends on how much the image is "transformed" by the photo --> illustration process. I think yours looks much more transformed than the Obama one, but it'd still make me a bit nervous.

That's one thing I was curious about when he started talking about the cover for this thing. Presumably, all good photos of Trump are copyrighted, so you'd have to pay to use them--or, as you say, even pay to base a derivative image off of them. Seems like the safest way might be to pay an artist to create a wholly original drawing/painting of Trump to use for the cover. Unless you want to find and pay for the license to use an existing photo, though I don't know which would be more trouble/expense. And the other thing I wonder is: at what point do you need the subject's (in this case, Trump's) personal permission to use their image on the cover? In a normal stock photo situation, you'd have to have a model release. How famous does someone have to be before you can use their image on the cover of your book without getting their direct permission?

Offline Bill Hiatt

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That's one thing I was curious about when he started talking about the cover for this thing. Presumably, all good photos of Trump are copyrighted, so you'd have to pay to use them--or, as you say, even pay to base a derivative image off of them. Seems like the safest way might be to pay an artist to create a wholly original drawing/painting of Trump to use for the cover. Unless you want to find and pay for the license to use an existing photo, though I don't know which would be more trouble/expense. And the other thing I wonder is: at what point do you need the subject's (in this case, Trump's) personal permission to use their image on the cover? In a normal stock photo situation, you'd have to have a model release. How famous does someone have to be before you can use their image on the cover of your book without getting their direct permission?
I'm pretty sure public figures (and the president certainly counts!) don't have to give you permission to use their image. Particularly with political figures, there are freedom of expression issues involved. What would happen if politicians could sue newspapers or TV stations for printing or broadcasting images of them without permission? A photographer has copyright protection, but a public figure doesn't have the same privacy protection you or I would be able to assert in the absence of a model release.

It might be possible to find public domain images of Trump. Anything that US government produces is automatically public domain unless the law has recently changed. You might also be able to find a photographer willing to license his or her work. Probably getting someone to draw an original image would be easier.


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Offline SC

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I'm pretty sure public figures (and the president certainly counts!) don't have to give you permission to use their image. Particularly with political figures, there are freedom of expression issues involved. What would happen if politicians could sue newspapers or TV stations for printing or broadcasting images of them without permission? A photographer has copyright protection, but a public figure doesn't have the same privacy protection you or I would be able to assert in the absence of a model release.

Yes, but my question is more where is the line that determines 'public figure'? Is it any person holding elected office? Obviously magazines take pictures of celebrities and post them without their consent. We don't see authors creating book covers using the likenesses of famous actors, though I imagine a lot would like to. Why is this? Where's that line?

Offline Becca Mills

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I'm not sure about the permission of the person in the image -- photos of public figures are used all the time without their having signed model release forms, so I'm guessing they're different from private citizens. (That said, isn't President Trump fairly litigious? One can always sue, even in situations where one is unlikely to win.)

But the copyright held by the person who took the photo is a different matter. I think an illustration of him that doesn't resemble any particular photo because the artist drew on multiple images to draw something unique ... I think that'd be safe? (So very much not a lawyer.)

Offline vltreude

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I heartily endorse this cover.
I understand the concern about copyright but I think this would qualify as satire.
Though if you had the artist change the facial expression a bit you could achieve the twin goals of making it more original and less negative (regarding Trump.)

Offline George Donnelly

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The cover artist purchased the source image from a stock photo site, maybe depositphotos IIRC.
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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Yes, but my question is more where is the line that determines 'public figure'? Is it any person holding elected office? Obviously magazines take pictures of celebrities and post them without their consent. We don't see authors creating book covers using the likenesses of famous actors, though I imagine a lot would like to. Why is this? Where's that line?
That's a really good question. I suspect most authors don't create book covers with pictures of famous actors because of photographer copyright. Stock photo sites with celeb photos usually license them only for editorial use only (so book covers are out, since books are products being offered for sale). I've been using Shutterstock for years and have never come across a celeb photo that wasn't tagged editorial use only. I suspect that may in some cases be because commercial uses might involve making it look as if the celeb endorsed a product he or she didn't endorse, and that would create legal complication for the company licensing the photo as well the person using it. Even the model-released photos can't be used in certain kinds of product ads, though I forget what the exact restrictions are.


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Online Perry Constantine

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The cover artist purchased the source image from a stock photo site, maybe depositphotos IIRC.

You'll want to double-check the usage license. I've seen images of famous people on those sites with the caveat of "editorial use only." That means it can only be used in a newspaper or magazine article, a blog or website for descriptive purposes, or in a non-commercial presentation. I'm not sure a book cover would qualify.

The artist might have to draw a completely different image of Trump that's not based on an existing photograph.

Offline klhynds

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OMG, finally, a decent cover. Any feedback for the designer?



I definitely think the background is a little plain. Perhaps a faded American Flag or something like that in the background?

You'll want to double-check the usage license. I've seen images of famous people on those sites with the caveat of "editorial use only." That means it can only be used in a newspaper or magazine article, a blog or website for descriptive purposes, or in a non-commercial presentation. I'm not sure a book cover would qualify.

The artist might have to draw a completely different image of Trump that's not based on an existing photograph.

I would think that doing an illustration based on a photo would be covered under fair use and/or satire. Yes, the illustration is BASED on the photo, but seeing as you're not using the exact photo, I think there's no legal issue there (unless Trump has copyrighted his likeness).

Online Perry Constantine

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I would think that doing an illustration based on a photo would be covered under fair use and/or satire. Yes, the illustration is BASED on the photo, but seeing as you're not using the exact photo, I think there's no legal issue there (unless Trump has copyrighted his likeness).

I wouldn't assume anything about that. Best to get an actual legal opinion on it or avoid the issue altogether. As was mentioned before, Shepard Fairey got into legal trouble when he based the Obama Hope poster on a photograph owned by the Associated Press. They settled out of court, but the judge urged a settlement and said Fairey would lose. The fair use defense didn't protect him, so I wouldn't risk that on a book.

Offline SC

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That's a really good question. I suspect most authors don't create book covers with pictures of famous actors because of photographer copyright. Stock photo sites with celeb photos usually license them only for editorial use only (so book covers are out, since books are products being offered for sale). I've been using Shutterstock for years and have never come across a celeb photo that wasn't tagged editorial use only. I suspect that may in some cases be because commercial uses might involve making it look as if the celeb endorsed a product he or she didn't endorse, and that would create legal complication for the company licensing the photo as well the person using it. Even the model-released photos can't be used in certain kinds of product ads, though I forget what the exact restrictions are.

What about if the likeness is not based on a specific image? Like, say I hire a cover artist to do a piece of original art and say, "Make the character look like Benedict Cumberbatch" (I'm using him as an example because he has a very distinctive look), and the artist is skilled enough to do it. Would that cross the line?

And now I thought of a parallel in audiobook form. Larry Correia has a character in his book Monster Hunter Alpha who sounds exactly like Christopher Walken. And it's not some coincidental regional accent thing. It's where the author said, "Can you make this character sound like Christopher Walken," and the narrator was like, "Yeah, I've got a great Christopher Walken impression ready to go." And obviously that hasn't caused any problems. You'd think that original cover art that was made to look like a celebrity would fall into that same category, yet I can't think of a single cover I've ever seen where an original character blatantly looked exactly like a celebrity in the original art on the cover.

I wouldn't assume anything about that. Best to get an actual legal opinion on it or avoid the issue altogether. As was mentioned before, Shepard Fairey got into legal trouble when he based the Obama Hope poster on a photograph owned by the Associated Press. They settled out of court, but the judge urged a settlement and said Fairey would lose. The fair use defense didn't protect him, so I wouldn't risk that on a book.

Looking at that link you posted, looks like settling meant he had to share profits on that image with the AP and do a series of similar images for them, so it's not even as if he got to do one easy thing and then keep getting all the profits from the image. It wasn't a "can I just pay a fee and then keep doing what I was doing?" situation.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2017, 09:44:56 PM by Shawna Canon »