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#1 C. Taylor

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:22 AM

There were some great discussions going on here at AQ regarding the copyright of images and their legal use. Whenever I make a cover, I first try and find an image through a photo stock site, because I know I can pick up an image for little money, and it will save me any legal headaches in the future. The standard licensing on most of the sites allows the image to be used on an ebook and print book, though you'll always want to double check their wording. Confused? Most sites have a free 800 # and are happy to answer any questions!

Though there are a TON of stock photo sites, the cost can vary widely, with most medium size photos (usually the size you'll want to be working with) running between $4- $1200. Needless to say, I usually hit the $4 sites which have an amazing amount of great photos, though I'll admit, $1200 buys you some GORGEOUS photos.

Licensing also needs to be taken into account for fonts and also for any brushes you may use-- and it can and will vary so again, make sure anything you use specifies that it's ok for commercial use.

Here's a list of sites I use for stock photos-- they're all in that $4 range for a M-- and also other sites for fonts and brushes. Feel free to add any sites you use!!

Stock Photos

http://bigstockphoto.com
http://123rf.com
http://photos.com
http://stockfresh.com

Fonts
http://dafont.com (an advanced search can narrow things down to just fonts that can be used commercially)

Brushes
I tend to go to http://deviantart.com and search under their resources/stock category for brushes (and sometimes stock photos, also) BUT you need to be very careful with regards to the allowed use, since each artist differs. Some ONLY allow the image/brush to be displayed on deviantart, others allow commercial use but with a link back.

Hope this helps!

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#2 C. Taylor

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:46 AM

Can't edit the first post, so here's the great AQ discussion on copyrights. Tons of info there nicely summed up by RC!

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#3 Robin Breyer

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:48 AM

One thing I mentioned in the other discussion that I'd like to add to what you said, a typeface cannot be copyrighted. It can only be protected by a patent. A typeface is the design of the letters. A font can be copyrighted, but that copy right only applies to how the font designer executes the lines, points, and curves to render the font. When you create a cover for an ebook, (at least under the current submission rules) you have to submit a bitmap graphics (usually .jpg or .png formats, though sometimes .tif or .bmp or something else). This does not preserve the font, only the typeface. Once it becomes a typeface in bitmap format, it is not subject to any restrictions of the font, only of the typeface. Because it is a bitmap (aka image with pixels) it does not retain any of the copyrighted information in the font.

The commercial use of a font would be embedding it in a PDF file or a Word document. That embeds the scalable lines, points, and curves inside the document and you must have the rights to do so. Even thought we authors have free ebooks, that is still a commercial use (we are pricing it at free to build an audience thereby benefiting front it). Some other programs and uses where it potentially saves the font with the file would be Adobe Illustrator, Adobe PhotoShop, Corel Draw, Paint Shop Pro, Adobe InDesign, MS Powerpoint... basically anything where if you take the file to another computer that does not have the font installed, you can still see the font and edit the text or scale the text. If it is reduced to a bitmap image you are good.

Patents are another question. If you want to find out if there is a patent on a typeface in question, you would have to check with the patent office. If you know that the typeface in question has been used for over 17 years (the duration of a patent in the US), you are safe. At nearly $400 a patent, I don't know of too many amateur designers who have taken that step, but you should check to be sure, either with the artist or the patent office. To my knowledge this is a step very few people are aware of or have done. I do know that the typeface used in the Titles of Star Trek the Motion Picture was patented in 1979 (which expired in 1996).

And remember that laws outside the US are very different. If you use a font protected by some other jurisdiction, the laws will very greatly. The above applies only for typefaces and fonts designed and created in the US.

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#4 jwmstudio

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:08 AM

Great information, Robin, Cali (and RC.) Thanks for posting!
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#5 Anna L. Walls

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:32 PM

Brushes??? I've heard this before, and I know they aren't the nice wooden stick with horse-hair bristles on the end. What are they and what do they do?

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#6 C. Taylor

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 07:44 PM

A brush can be something as simple as a circle, but can also have a specific, more intricate shape, and like a font, you can change its size. An example is the blood smears on my cover for Jack in my signature below. That's a brush. Also, Darke's covers-- both the knotwork and the glowing circle around it are both brushes. You can change the color of them, and you can also use the brush shapes as stamps. That means you can copy an image in the shape of the brush, and then paste it elsewhere. I use that fairly often for filling in hair if the picture cut it off, or if I need to give the model a different hair style.

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#7 C. Taylor

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 07:18 AM

Another rescource for Brushes (can't edit the first post)-- Obsidian Dawn. She offers commercial licenses for her brush packs for just $3 or for free with a mention. And they're very good.

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#8 Eli Ashpence

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 11:19 PM

When it comes to brushes, you might try browsing Deviantart, too. There's tons of good resources there, although you should always check for blanket permissions before using anything you find. Some people sneak in text files with the brush download specifying that it's not released for commercial use and lists licensing costs.... However! I've gotten several dozen with blanket disclaimers permitting both commercial and private use.

Edit: Pfft! Silly me, I just noticed you already had that listed in your original post. I must have missed it.

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#9 C. Taylor

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 01:29 PM

lol. I always miss stuff. : ) But totally agree-- deviantart is a great resource for brushes!! And yes, you do need to be very careful with what the artist specifies for use.

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#10 C. Taylor

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Posted 04 May 2012 - 07:56 PM

Here's another resource for brushes and other elements. http://myphotoshopbrushes.com/

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#11 Alyssa Cormier

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 08:50 AM

I think it's worth mentioning that Deviantart has a Job forum where you are able to post listings. There are a ton of amazing artist there and their prices are really ranged. Depending on what you want you could get a unqiue piece of art for a relatively low price. ^_^
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#12 Lara Rose Lee

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 07:32 PM

I was wondering if any one uses Paint Shop or is there any free download sites that has good editing to help create book covers? Could use some info please.

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#13 C. Taylor

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 07:52 PM

Lara, for free software, try paint.net or gimp. The other option if you're just looking to do a cover or two is to use the trial version of photoshop.

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#14 Lara Rose Lee

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Posted 28 August 2012 - 11:21 AM

Thank you..I just downloaded Gimp. I need to read now how to use it and I am excited. I just posted three cover ideas that I intend to improve on these are only ideas for my book and don't with an old paint shop.

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#15 CapeCodCurvy

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 12:24 PM

I am somewhat surprised people don't hire artists or use their own photography and then have it digitally modified to suit their needs. You can contact local art schools or colleges and put out a call for students. Some of them are insanely gifted and for them, having their work on a novel cover is HUGE for their portfolio.

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#16 C. Taylor

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 01:35 PM

Cape, I've had clients who looked into hiring artists or just getting permission to use their artwork, and it's always been VERY expensive (usually upwards of $400). Even taking your own photos can be difficult if you need a model, since trying to find a model that is willing to take the photo for not a whole lot of money, coupled with it being someone who has the right look, isn't easy. Stock photos are quick, easy and give you a huge selection -- all for about $4. Can't beat that, even if you don't always get EXACTLY what you're looking for.

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#17 Midnight Whimsy

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 01:58 PM

Cape, I've had clients who looked into hiring artists or just getting permission to use their artwork, and it's always been VERY expensive (usually upwards of $400). Even taking your own photos can be difficult if you need a model, since trying to find a model that is willing to take the photo for not a whole lot of money, coupled with it being someone who has the right look, isn't easy. Stock photos are quick, easy and give you a huge selection -- all for about $4. Can't beat that, even if you don't always get EXACTLY what you're looking for.


HarperCollins licensed original artwork from me for use on a book cover (coming out in winter 2013) and they paid me almost double your suggested quote there. Keep in mind this was to license my art, not actually buy the copyright (waaaaay more for that). I didn't create the piece custom for them; if I had, again, even more expensive.

Stock photos, really, are the way to go. Great topic!

@Robin: I did not know that! Thanks for the lesson. :)

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#18 CapeCodCurvy

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 03:25 PM

Yeah - I would guess upwards of a grand for original art, BUT if you can grab a new artist than sometimes you can get it very cheap. A way to build their portfolio. Hence: art students.

I know - I'm nuts, but cover art I think is so critical.

#19 Midnight Whimsy

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 02:06 AM

but cover art I think is so critical.


Agreed!

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#20 Raziel

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:18 AM

I'm at the stage where I'm considering cover art, but I'm sort of stuck on the font copyright issue. What do you think of http://www.1001fonts.com as a site for searching for free for commercial use fonts? I looked at http://dafont.com but I had a hard time searching for free for commercial use fonts (perhaps I'm missing how to search for that). Thanks.






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