Just came across this and thought I'd add my two cents in regards to you creating images for your own cover, as opposed to buying a license. I've been a professional photographer for 20+ years and part of my formal photography education included copyright laws, specifically relevant to commercial and stock photography. Obviously the person who took the picture or created the art owns the image. But it's more complicated than that. If you're planning to photograph, draw, or recreate anything- a building, a landscape, a vehicle- that can be identified as a real place/thing, you must have permission from the owner of the property. The image in question doesn't even have to have a definitively identifying feature, such as a street sign. If you look at a picture and think, "I think that kind of looks like Kansas," that's ok. If you see a picture and say, "Hey, I've been to that beach!" or "That's my next door neighbor's mailbox!" you can't use that image unless you get a copyright release from the person who owns the property. Sometimes it's as simple as knocking on the door and saying, "Hey, your cottage on the beach is adorable! Can I use a picture of it on the front cover of my book?" because people think it's cool to see their house on a book (just make sure you send them a free copy- Karma, man). But sometimes it's not that easy, and usually those are the same people who are going to hunt you down and demand compensation. State/federal parks, public streets, anything with a logo or any identifiable mark, is included. A silhouette of a couple kissing at sunset with sand and water in the background is fine. A picture of a couple kissing at Arches National Park is not. You may not think it's a big deal to take a picture of that lighthouse you love so much and use it, but if your book hits the bestseller list and the person who owns that lighthouse (because everything is owned by someone) sees it, it could become a big deal.