Last week we talked about some of the legal issues involved in using the art created by others in books, blogs, and on websites. We promised that we would give some tips this week about how to legally obtain images with the resolution needed for publication.
It is becoming easier for self-publishers to obtain images that are copyrighted. Suppliers like Getty Images, Bridgeman Art Library, Art Resource, and galleries like the National Portrait Gallery in London are offering online licensing and payment of fees for limited print and digital copies and for use of images on websites for a limited period of time. It is easy to obtain images from stock image companies like Fotolia. The images used in this blog and our other blogs were obtained from that company’s website.
The ordering of a copy suitable for printing can be done via an online form in most cases. The payment can often be made online as well, and we have found that getting help with specific requests from such providers has become much easier than in the past. Some providers have cost considerations for those of us with needs for very limited numbers of print copies. If you don’t see a cost consideration that fits your needs on an image provider’s website, call or send an online query to the provider.
If you are looking for a specific image, Google Reverse Image Search may help you locate it on the Internet. Be aware that the site where you find the image may not have any claim whatsoever to the image. However, some will offer helpful clues about original source and thus where to go for a license and a good digital image.
University archives and trade associations like the Artist Rights Society (ARS) can sometimes help in tracking down artists and owners of specific artworks.
Fees are all over the board. The images used on this blog and our previous blog are obtained using a royalty free license. A royalty free license does not mean free image uses are allowed. With this license one usually pays an upfront fee for uses of a collection that enables her to use various items in the collection in the ways determined by the license without going back for permission for each use.
It is sometimes difficult to determine early on a budget for a project with several copyrighted items. In one instance artwork for the cover of a self-published book might be $200 for use on 3,000 copies. In another, the fee may be thousands of dollars for use on fewer copies. Getty Images charges a substantial amount for some images, for example, and allows for free use on websites of other images. The fees for interior use in print works of identical images are most often significantly less than for cover images.
The good thing about current clearance processes is that you can often find the fee for your projected use of fine art images early in your project by calculating costs yourself for your use using online tables. You can consider the value of the image to your project and its fit to your budget before you commit much time to consideration of a particular image.
Next week we will discuss the need for high resolution images and give some pointers on determining if you have high resolution images and on obtaining them when you do not.
Want More About Copyright Law?
Order your copy of Copyright Clearance for Creatives for a basic overview of copyright law and essential guidelines on when, how, and where to get permission to use copyright content in your works.