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Using images in blog posts

  1. Hi, I'd like to use some kind of visual content in nearly every blog post I write because I think they look better with images, photos...etc. I have been using my own photos and public domain images so far but I want to write some book reviews and I would like to be able to include an image of the book cover in my review.

    For those of you who are more au fait with blogging than I am, do you know about copyright laws surrounding use of images in blogs? Would it be acceptable for me to use a book cover image from the Barnes and Noble or Amazon website, for example? I would credit the image to its source, of course, but I am unsure whether using an image like that would be okay. Does it come under fair use laws?

    Thanks.

    The blog I need help with is culturallife.wordpress.com.

  2. I've worked with Amazon for years and while I don't think they've written down their policy, believe me, they will have NO issue if you use their images. I've even hotlinked them. It would be a courtesy to link the image to the page on Amazon you can order the book from.

    And often, if you write to publishers, they'll send you a whack of images, including author photos.

  3. Fair use is a vague doctrine, judged on a case by case basis. It includes four guidelines, but other factors may also be taken into consideration. I think only a specialist lawyer can answer your question competently, but after some search I will venture an opinion.

    A book review in your blog means no monetary gain for you.
    It may generate interest in the book.
    You're not reproducing the original, you're only writing about it.
    The book cover isn't the main object, it's something secondary (doesn't compare to, say, posting an image taken from a photographer's site).
    The image will be a thumbnail, not a full-size reproduction.

    All these seem to speak for fair use. Possible exception: if the book cover is an original artwork by a contemporary artist.

    As for Barnes&Noble or Amazon, the copyright of a book cover doesn't belong to them, it belongs to the publishers of the book. But by linking to a site where you can read more about the book or buy it, you're probably strengthening your fair use case.

    For more, I suggest you study these:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use
    http://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal/liability/IP
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelly_v._Arriba_Soft_Corporation

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