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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I just reworked the cover for "Dead Men Don't Cry".  I'm pretty happy with it.  But then I started wondering about the legal angle.

The stock photography site I got the photo from specifically said ebooks are an allowable usage, but didn't say anything about a model release.  If they don't have one, am I potentially liable to get sued by the guy for using his likeness without his permission?
 

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Nancy Fulda said:
So I just reworked the cover for "Dead Men Don't Cry". I'm pretty happy with it. But then I started wondering about the legal angle.

The stock photography site I got the photo from specifically said ebooks are an allowable usage, but didn't say anything about a model release. If they don't have one, am I potentially liable to get sued by the guy for using his likeness without his permission?
They should all have signed model release forms. I checked mine out very carefully. Seems I can do just what I like with mine, including altering it.

http://www.dreamstime.com
 

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You should be fine.  For that photo to be on a stock photo page to be sold and licensed out, all of the rights and terms should already be taken care of.  That is what you get for the $10-$15 you paid to use the photo.  Ghetty images I think stops once you have sold half a million before they make you re-buy the rights etc.

One could only hope that your book becomes so popular that it even becomes a concern.
 

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Some sites, and I think istockphotos is one, have a separate listing for photos that have obtained model releases. I would check carefully to make sure there is a model release before using a photo of someone recognizable or famous.
 

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Check the photo's page. It will have the license agreement that applies to the usage of that particular photo. And be SURE it says there's a model release. Some photos don't have a model release and are only suitable for editorial use...and if there's no model release, I definitely wouldn't use it on a book cover.
 

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Always check. I think some sites are better than others about obtaining model releases. I'm a photographer, and I have several images on istockphoto (my fav place to buy too!) and you pretty much have to have a model release for anything resembling a human these days. I even had a "body part" image with no discernible face that had to have one. Also, they check the releases somehow, because not any old release will do. It had to have very specific language which meant revamping my business releases to be able to sell  the images there.  :-(

Hope this helps!
 

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Read through the site's requirements for photographers. If the site requires a model release in order to post images of people, you're good to go. If the site says it's your responsibility to get the model release from the photographer be a little more cautious about using that pic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hm... interesting. The licensing terms say:

Licensor grants no rights and makes no warranties with regard to the use of names, people, trademarks, trade dress, logo types, registered, unregistered, or copyrighted designs or works of art or architecture or other forms of intellectual property depicted in any Content, and Licensee must satisfy itself that all the necessary rights, consents, or permissions regarding any of the above, as may be required for reproduction, have been obtained. Licensee acknowledges that some jurisdictions provide legal protection against a person's image, likeness, or property being used for commercial purposes without their consent.
But the FAQ specifically clears images for ebook use with no qualifications and the photographer guidelines say they require a model release for all images featuring a person. Since this guy's featured in over 1000 images on the site, I'm guessing the photographer has one, but I'm going to attempt to contact him just to be sure.
 

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Nancy Fulda said:
Well, that was fast. The site emailed back confirming the existence of a valid model release. What a relief!
Maybe you should get a copy?

I'm no photographer or anything, but that seems like it would be a good idea. I always make sure to have a copy of the license for all fonts and images I use on my covers.
 

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Nancy Fulda said:
Well, that was fast. The site emailed back confirming the existence of a valid model release. What a relief!
Thank you for going the extra mile. I was wondering about that myself after poring over the image sights lately. Now I know, double check with the photographer of any image with people that I select!

Good luck with your cover.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Carradee said:
Maybe you should get a copy?

I'm no photographer or anything, but that seems like it would be a good idea. I always make sure to have a copy of the license for all fonts and images I use on my covers.
If the ebook takes off, I may go back for more solid evidence. But honestly, it's a short story and it's not likely to sell all that many copies. I'm content to let it rest with electronic evidence that the distributing web site confirmed existence of the release.
 

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Nancy Fulda said:
If the ebook takes off, I may go back for more solid evidence. But honestly, it's a short story and it's not likely to sell all that many copies. I'm content to let it rest with electronic evidence that the distributing web site confirmed existence of the release.
That's the way I feel. If I start to make a lot of money, I'll look at the issue more seriously. Until then, a website sold me a photo and told me I could use it on an ebook. I took them at their word and did that. If someone sues, they're the ones who are liable, not me.
 

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Carradee said:
Maybe you should get a copy?

I'm no photographer or anything, but that seems like it would be a good idea. I always make sure to have a copy of the license for all fonts and images I use on my covers.
A license for fonts too? Even the ones that come standard in programs like Word, Pages, Illustrator, and Photoshop?

I never considered the possibility that I would have to obtain licenses for these. Egads, I'm glad I am frequenting this place while I'm still writing and before I dare release a book.
 

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swolf said:
That's the way I feel. If I start to make a lot of money, I'll look at the issue more seriously. Until then, a website sold me a photo and told me I could use it on an ebook. I took them at their word and did that. If someone sues, they're the ones who are liable, not me.
I was a bit concerned over my last cover, however I have the rights and nobody has complained. First time I've used a stock photo. I wonder how some of those models feel when they see themselves on the covers of books they might not approve of, or even read.
 

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Randirogue said:
A license for fonts too? Even the ones that come standard in programs like Word, Pages, Illustrator, and Photoshop?

I never considered the possibility that I would have to obtain licenses for these. Egads, I'm glad I am frequenting this place while I'm still writing and before I dare release a book.
Yeah, for fonts, too. The ones that came with your computer are probably okay for personal use, but not commercial. According to what I've been told (by professionals in publishing), licenses for fonts used in book interiors aren't a big deal; e-book readers change the fonts at will, and printing companies are responsible to get the commercial licenses for the fonts they print.

The problem comes with covers. The fonts, being made part of the image (or part of, say, a sign in a store) are now being used for commercial purposes, so you need a license.

So far, I've been using freeware-for-commercial-use fonts that actually have documentation from the font creator, because I trust that more than just some comment on a website that something's free for commercial use. It only takes one person "misunderstanding" a font's license (that can be free for personal use but cost for commercial use) to start spreading misinformation about a font's licensure.

Am I likely to be sued? No. Do I want to have all documentation on-hand in case of worst-case scenario. Yes.
 
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