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Author Topic: Book Titles on the Spine  (Read 6804 times)

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« on: June 18, 2007, 12:05 »
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I have a few photos taken in a library.  I tried blurring book titles out with some success on a couple (acceptable at most sites, focus in wrong place at SS).  Yet, when I was browsing Istock last night they have some good selling library photos where the book titles are definitely clear.   (I was quite surprised to see, because Istock rejected some with a map on the wall in the background!  And rightly so, I guess.)

Am I wrong thinking I need to obscure the title and details from the book spine on these books?   Oh the lessons we learn as we go!  If I had shot from the proper angle they would have been mostly obscured in the first place.  It's amazing what you can see at 100%... I could read every word on the book on her lap in a couple of them!


« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2007, 19:52 »
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From a legal point of view, I don't know, but as a designer, I can tell you that I would never buy a photo of books with the title and/or the author blurred. A book without a title? That's a notebook to me. I would clone out the publisher though.

« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2007, 20:05 »
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To my knowledge, book titles aren't copyright.

« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2007, 20:11 »
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To my knowledge, book titles aren't copyright.
Not only are a lot of titles copyrighted but the binding normally has the name of the publisher, which is trademarked.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2007, 20:36 by yingyang0 »

« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2007, 08:42 »
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To my knowledge, book titles aren't copyright.
Not only are a lot of titles copyrighted but the binding normally has the name of the publisher, which is trademarked.

Oops, my bad then  :P

« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2007, 08:46 »
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You CANNOT copyright the title of a book, the name of a song, or the title of a picture/artwork. You can copyright the text, images/drawings, maps and even the design, but never the title.

If the publisher's name or logo are visible, these are brands and need to be removed.

The world of intellectual property is a minefield!

« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2007, 10:01 »
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...Yet, when I was browsing Istock last night they have some good selling library photos where the book titles are definitely clear.   (I was quite surprised to see, because Istock rejected some with a map on the wall in the background!  And rightly so, I guess.)
... and are those photos from IS exclusive contributors? :-P

« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2007, 10:09 »
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... and are those photos from IS exclusive contributors? :-P
[/quote]

Gosh, I didn't check.  I'll browse again when I have a little time here. 

I think I'll review a couple of my shots and then and see what happens upon submission.  If acceptable I'll work on the rest.  The photos are actually of people and the books are just in the environment.  I'll look for publisher's marks first - but there must be 100 books in the background.    Hello PhotoShop. 

Thanks for the input. 

« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2007, 14:40 »
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You CANNOT copyright the title of a book, the name of a song, or the title of a picture/artwork. You can copyright the text, images/drawings, maps and even the design, but never the title.

The world of intellectual property is a minefield!
The OP's question was about photographing the book titles on the spines of books. The "jackets" of books are generally copyrighted. That includes the title on the spine. You can always use the name of the book as a keyword, but most publishing house use unique stylized lettering and designs on the spines of books specifically to be able to copyright them. Lets try to to keep to answering actual questions asked instead of trying to create more by bringing up ancillary topics.

The answer to the OP's question was, and still is that he should remove the titles and logos from the book spines.


« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2007, 16:06 »
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"The answer to the OP's question was, and still is that he should remove the titles and logos from the book spines."

Since were are closely analyzing the wording of the original question, it might be noted that the actual question was about a title on the spine, and not about a dust jacket per say.  So yingyang0 your not reading as close as you think. 

In Canadian copyright law the question of titles is directly addressed. I'm not sure about US or UK, but because they are all Rome Convention signatories, I suspect they are similar.

Moving on, there are two possibilities: Book with jacket & book without.

Generally, a title of a book is not subject matter which can be copyrighted. However it can be. Much depends on the uniqueness of the title. Section 2 of the copyright act states that a work includes the title thereof when such title is original and distinctive.  Simply copying the title will not be infringement unless that title is original and distinctive.  Having actually read the case law on the issue, I cant tell you that a court in Canada is very very unlikely to find infringement where only a copy of the title is made. Istock is located in Canada I believe.

However, since we are talking about taking a picture of a title on a spine, the only case for infringement is that the title itself is a work of art in its own right, and thus subject matter capable of copyright regardless of its status as a title to some other work.  I think this is what yingyang0 was getting at, albeit in a rude and slightly aggressive fashion.

It would be a hard case to make that a title on a spine - no dust jacket - could be considered a separate work that meets the test under the copyright act for protection. 

However, the dust jacket as a whole could be subject to copyright protection, because quite often they are works of art capable of standing apart from the book they are protecting.  The issue doesn't end there.  The next question would be whether photographing the spine would be the reproduction of the entire or a substantial part of the dust jacket. Its not a copy of the entire dust jacket, and its not a copy of a substantial part of the jacket either. Its not like you are folding out the entire jacket and copying the whole.

It would be extremely difficult to successfully argue infringement in this circumstance. 

I could keep going and mention such user rights under Canadian copyright as incidental use, which would provide a complete defence to a copyright infringement action. But that would be pointless...

because the real issue is that image reviewers cant be expected to understand copyright law, and microstock sites really have no choice but to be super conservative in applying IP laws.  The IP policies at the sites I post images to are garbage from a legal perspective, but from a business perspective they make sense.

The real answer is that its likely not a violation of copyright law to photograph the spine, but is violation of a policy of a business that you really have no way around.

« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2007, 21:16 »
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"The answer to the OP's question was, and still is that he should remove the titles and logos from the book spines."

Since were are closely analyzing the wording of the original question, it might be noted that the actual question was about a title on the spine, and not about a dust jacket per say.  So yingyang0 your not reading as close as you think. 

In Canadian copyright law the question of titles is directly addressed. I'm not sure about US or UK, but because they are all Rome Convention signatories, I suspect they are similar.

Moving on, there are two possibilities: Book with jacket & book without.

Having actually read the case law on the issue, I cant tell you that a court in Canada is very very unlikely to find infringement where only a copy of the title is made. Istock is located in Canada I believe.

However, since we are talking about taking a picture of a title on a spine, the only case for infringement is that the title itself is a work of art in its own right, and thus subject matter capable of copyright regardless of its status as a title to some other work.  I think this is what yingyang0 was getting at, albeit in a rude and slightly aggressive fashion.

It would be a hard case to make that a title on a spine - no dust jacket - could be considered a separate work that meets the test under the copyright act for protection. 
1) Since we have now fallen into the semantics game I was hoping to avoid... the Berne Convention is the one that covered copyrights on photographs and literary works. Rome covered phonograms and performance art, and even though we (US) signed the Berne Convention, we don't adhere to it in many respects.
2) Istock is owned by Getty, a US corporation.
3) There was nothing rude in my posting, abrupt maybe but I'm on time constraints here.

MOST IMPORTANTLY
4) Grab a book off your bookshelf. Now look at the spine. At the bottom of the spine there will be the name of the publisher along with the publisher logo/trademark. Both of of these have to be removed in order to sell as RF. Now look above that. Normally the author's name is next up from there. This also has to be removed in order to sell as RF (at least in the US or could be liable in tort). Now go up from there. Look at the title. Is that a unique font or is it accompanied by graphics behind it? If so then that has to be removed.

It is true that the title of a book can't be copyrighted, so other people are free to use that title in other works. However, here in the US publishers have gotten around that by copyrighting the look of the books they publish as well as the unique fonts (font copyright is a key difference between the US and some other common law countries) they use to print the names on the books. As most stock photos sales are to US customers and you could be liable in a US court, the wise and prudent thing to do is to remove all markings and wording from the bindings of the book.

If anyone would like case cites to US cases I'd be happy to provide them upon request, just PM me. Now I'm going back to work.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2007, 21:32 by yingyang0 »

« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2007, 21:22 »
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because the real issue is that image reviewers cant be expected to understand copyright law, and microstock sites really have no choice but to be super conservative in applying IP laws.  The IP policies at the sites I post images to are garbage from a legal perspective, but from a business perspective they make sense.
One man's garbage is another man's rightly conservative, well thought out, policy created by large US law firms who specialize in IP litigation.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2007, 21:26 by yingyang0 »


 

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