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Opinion on record album/book image backgrounds


Question

Hello folks, 

Been on the forum a couple of years, but haven't posted since my first few months, as I recall.

 

Do you think I've made a mistake in formatting of the several hundred record album cover images I've uploaded--in putting them on a white (or in the case of white covers, black) backgrounds?   It seemed a good idea when I started the project and haven't thought much about it since--but now I'm wondering if it will harm sales.  Seems like a dumb idea to me now.

 

Also, will Alamy object if I now upload the same images without the backgrounds?  Since I already have those files, would take little work to do so.

 

Thanks for your opinions and advice,

Michael

 

 

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7 hours ago, MilesbeforeIsleep said:

Hello folks, 

Been on the forum a couple of years, but haven't posted since my first few months, as I recall.

 

Do you think I've made a mistake in formatting of the several hundred record album cover images I've uploaded--in putting them on a white (or in the case of white covers, black) backgrounds?   It seemed a good idea when I started the project and haven't thought much about it since--but now I'm wondering if it will harm sales.  Seems like a dumb idea to me now.

 

Also, will Alamy object if I now upload the same images without the backgrounds?  Since I already have those files, would take little work to do so.

 

Thanks for your opinions and advice,

Michael

 

 

No, Alamy won’t mind and I would do it. What might slow you down is to linked the images together, so that if a buyer clicks on one with a background, you can say in the description or caption, “see image # xxxxxxx without a border.

To whether putting a border around them, I don’t know if it was a mistake. I see a lot of cutouts.

Edited by Betty LaRue
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Hi Michael, If I were to do one, not both, I would shoot them on white.  I think most book cover uses either hold the white or cut out from the white....they can always create a black background. Buyers can search for images by ticking a box for "cut out" and those are photos of objects on a clean white background.

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2 hours ago, Michael Ventura said:

Hi Michael, If I were to do one, not both, I would shoot them on white.  I think most book cover uses either hold the white or cut out from the white....they can always create a black background. Buyers can search for images by ticking a box for "cut out" and those are photos of objects on a clean white background.

 

Just wondering, Michael, what method do you find the best for creating the white backgrounds?

 

I don't have many book covers on sale, but much to my surprise an upper $$ distributor license (Kazakhstan) showed up last year. It was a somewhat tattered paperback that I had bought in the late 60's.  I had cropped the cover right to the edges -- i.e. there was no background at all. I've had much better luck with licensing my old LP record covers.

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Am I correct that the copyright of designs such as book and LP covers only lasts 25 years?

 

The other question is whether these can be exclusive? Presumably they can't be.

Edited by geogphotos
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45 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

Am I correct that the copyright of designs such as book and LP covers only lasts 25 years?

 

The other question is whether these can be exclusive? Presumably they can't be.

OP is in the US, so who knows, but in the UK the 25 years refers to the typographical layout (section 15). Any photographs or artwork would have their usual term.

If they're not incidental, no, not exclusive.

OP has a lot of material which I wouldn't have put up at all. Since Bob Dylan's back catalogue now belongs to Universal, he may get a letter about those covers as well.

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8 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Just wondering, Michael, what method do you find the best for creating the white backgrounds?

 

I don't have many book covers on sale, but much to my surprise an upper $$ distributor license (Kazakhstan) showed up last year. It was a somewhat tattered paperback that I had bought in the late 60's.  I had cropped the cover right to the edges -- i.e. there was no background at all. I've had much better luck with licensing my old LP record covers.

 

John, my lighting for objects on white is very simple.  I have a small white table top "cove" that I bought at B&H Photo a long time ago, and I just bounce one strobe (flash) light off my white ceiling.  This keeps my lighting fairly even all around.  I do use white cardboard reflectors on each side of the object so it isn't just down lighting.  I then clean up the white areas in Photoshop, if needed.  I've had plenty of objects on white sell.  During the lockdown, I photographed a lot of household things to keep me busy.

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16 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

OP is in the US, so who knows, but in the UK the 25 years refers to the typographical layout (section 15). Any photographs or artwork would have their usual term.

If they're not incidental, no, not exclusive.

OP has a lot of material which I wouldn't have put up at all. Since Bob Dylan's back catalogue now belongs to Universal, he may get a letter about those covers as well.

 

 

from what i have read the same would apply to the photographs and artwork in the USA.  There is quite a bit of grey zone on what is Fair Use of the cover of a book or album, but i don't think selling licenses is one of them. 

 

I wonder if Alamy considers them "in context" by being part of the cover.

Edited by meanderingemu
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If you search "book cover" on Alamy, there are over 4.5 million images shown.  At a quick glance, about a 1/4 of those are of straight forward shots of actual book covers.  So there are perhaps a little over a million images of book covers on Alamy.  If Alamy had a problem with book covers, I don't think they would have allowed this many to remain in their catalog.

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The question was asked and I merely stated that I wouldn't personally submit this material. We all have to make our own decisions. Anyway the liability would be down to the publisher of the image.

Alamy has never edited for content- when you submit you warrant that you own the copyright. It takes images down when they're complained about but that's about all. It doesn't have a "problem" until it gets a lawyer's letter.

Edited by spacecadet
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Be aware of submitting covers/record labels etc. owned by Apple (music publishing, not the tech company).

They will contact Alamy to get images removed, unless you have permission from them.

Infringing copyright I think was what I was told when my pic of The Beatles 'white album' disc with Apple label, on white vinyl, was removed.

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Penguin were clear, when I emailed them to ask and eventually got through to the right department, that they consider photographing any of their books to be a copyright infringement. 

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3 hours ago, Michael Ventura said:

If you search "book cover" on Alamy, there are over 4.5 million images shown.  At a quick glance, about a 1/4 of those are of straight forward shots of actual book covers.  So there are perhaps a little over a million images of book covers on Alamy.  If Alamy had a problem with book covers, I don't think they would have allowed this many to remain in their catalog.

 

there are plenty of images in database taken on Private property that restricts images for commercial use, it doesn't make it OK.  As per our agreement the contributor confirms that they had appropriate rights to submit image content, Alamy dies not manage it until they get a request, or feel reputation risk is too high for them. 

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52 minutes ago, meanderingemu said:

 

there are plenty of images in database taken on Private property that restricts images for commercial use, it doesn't make it OK.  As per our agreement the contributor confirms that they had appropriate rights to submit image content, Alamy dies not manage it until they get a request, or feel reputation risk is too high for them. 

I am referring to copyright, not property releases. AFAICS, it's not a breach of contract to submit images without property or model releases unless you misrepresent, and Alamy doesn't take down images over property releases, only copyright or trademarks.

Edited by spacecadet
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33 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

I am referring to copyright, not property releases. AFAICS, it's not a breach of contract to submit images without property or model releases unless you misrepresent, and Alamy doesn't take down images over property releases, only copyright or trademarks.

where did i say property release?  Plenty of properties restrict images for commercial use eg.Museums, Zoos yet Alamy hosts such images. 

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7 hours ago, Michael Ventura said:

 

John, my lighting for objects on white is very simple.  I have a small white table top "cove" that I bought at B&H Photo a long time ago, and I just bounce one strobe (flash) light off my white ceiling.  This keeps my lighting fairly even all around.  I do use white cardboard reflectors on each side of the object so it isn't just down lighting.  I then clean up the white areas in Photoshop, if needed.  I've had plenty of objects on white sell.  During the lockdown, I photographed a lot of household things to keep me busy.

 

Thanks, Michael. I used natural light for the few book covers that I have with white backgrounds. I'll look into the "cove" option that you mention. I took a course on lighting decades ago as part of a community college photography program, but most of what I learned has faded. I need a refresher at this point.

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2 hours ago, meanderingemu said:

where did i say property release?  Plenty of properties restrict images for commercial use eg.Museums, Zoos yet Alamy hosts such images. 

 

True, but there is a difference between "commercial" and "editorial" uses. Alamy gives us the option to specify editorial use only. You see plenty of images of book covers used editorially. No?

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"We’ve checked this with our legal team and this image can only be marked as exclusive if you are the original creator, which would either be the original artist/photographer of the cover art, David Bowie or the record label or a combination of all three.

Secondly as there’s no context to the image at all it could be seen as an infringement by whoever owns the copyright to the original – if there was wider context such as being pulled out of the record sleeve or by a record player it would have more context.

Due to the legal issues this image could cause, we will delete it unless you have proof of the relevant permission.

Alamy Contributor Relations"

 

After contacting Alamy regarding posting images of album covers I received the above response.

There are 58,000 plus 'album cover' images searching Alamy, a high percentage are isolated images without context and many appear to be available for commercial use and possibly marked as exclusive.

I pulled anything I had from the site (which was very few) as a result of Alamy's response as the repercussions it seems could be more trouble than worth the risk.

Posting my experience with this for those who might be unaware of the issues.

Plenty of other less controversial subjects out there!

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34 minutes ago, Tony ALS said:

"We’ve checked this with our legal team and this image can only be marked as exclusive if you are the original creator, which would either be the original artist/photographer of the cover art, David Bowie or the record label or a combination of all three.

Secondly as there’s no context to the image at all it could be seen as an infringement by whoever owns the copyright to the original – if there was wider context such as being pulled out of the record sleeve or by a record player it would have more context.

Due to the legal issues this image could cause, we will delete it unless you have proof of the relevant permission.

Alamy Contributor Relations"

 

After contacting Alamy regarding posting images of album covers I received the above response.

There are 58,000 plus 'album cover' images searching Alamy, a high percentage are isolated images without context and many appear to be available for commercial use and possibly marked as exclusive.

I pulled anything I had from the site (which was very few) as a result of Alamy's response as the repercussions it seems could be more trouble than worth the risk.

Posting my experience with this for those who might be unaware of the issues.

Plenty of other less controversial subjects out there!

 

Hmmm... Thanks for sharing. I've had several old (1960's) album covers license for editorial use. I always mark them as nonexclusive and available for editorial use only.

 

I wish Alamy could be clearer about this type of thing. Good subject for a blog post perhaps?

Edited by John Mitchell
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1 minute ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Hmmm... I've had several old (1960's) album covers license for editorial use. I always mark them as nonexclusive and available for editorial use only.

 

I wish Alamy could be clearer about this type of thing. Good subject for a blog post perhaps?

Couldn't agree more. 

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18 hours ago, Tony ALS said:

Couldn't agree more. 

 

 

My guess is that Alamy prefer there to be shades of grey and leave the responsibility to the contributor. That is a win-win for them. 

 

If you ask you will get a reply such as the one you did. If you not ask they don't need to even notice what is going on. 

Edited by geogphotos
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1 hour ago, geogphotos said:

 

 

My guess is that Alamy prefer there to be shades of grey and leave the responsibility to the contributor. That is a win-win for them. 

 

If you ask you will get a reply such as the one you did. If you not ask they don't need to even notice what is going on. 

 

I think you've nailed it.

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Posted (edited)
On 24/04/2021 at 21:54, John Mitchell said:

 

Just wondering, Michael, what method do you find the best for creating the white backgrounds?

 

I don't have many book covers on sale, but much to my surprise an upper $$ distributor license (Kazakhstan) showed up last year. It was a somewhat tattered paperback that I had bought in the late 60's.  I had cropped the cover right to the edges -- i.e. there was no background at all. I've had much better luck with licensing my old LP record covers.

 

I'm the other Michael in this fray, but I'll answer as well.  I shoot on a white or black background, just to give me a clear edge to cut.  But I create the image background either by stacking the original image with a plain white image in PS, or just by (in PS) pulling a crop out from each side, then filling it with white.  

 

BTW, this only applies to objects of which the edges are cut perfectly straight.  My book images which are shown 'standing' at an angle, to show both the front and the spine, are cut out with the PS pen tool, as edges are rarely straight.

 

Edited by MilesbeforeIsleep
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2 hours ago, MilesbeforeIsleep said:

 

I'm the other Michael in this fray, but I'll answer as well.  I shoot on a white or black background, just to give me a clear edge to cut.  But I create the image background either by stacking the original image with a plain white image in PS, or just by (in PS) pulling a crop out from each side, then filling it with white.  

 

BTW, this only applies to objects of which the edges are cut perfectly straight.  My book images which are shown 'standing' at an angle, to show both the front and the spine, are cut out with the PS pen tool, as edges are rarely straight.

 

 

Thanks for the useful tips. I'll give them a try.

 

However, after this conversation, I'm not sure how many more book and album covers I'll be uploading.

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Posted (edited)

I'm confused by the use of the word  "exclusive" in several of these replies.  The only option for declaring an image exclusive, to my understanding, pertains to whether or not I'm offering the same image at other stock agencies.  How is that a problem for record album cover or book images?

 

Edited by MilesbeforeIsleep
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24 minutes ago, MilesbeforeIsleep said:

I'm confused by the use of the word  "exclusive" in several of these replies.  The only option for declaring an image exclusive, to my understanding, pertains to whether or not I'm offering the same image at other stock agencies.  How is that a problem for record album cover or book images?

 

Have you read this post?

You can only offer exclusivity if you own the copyright. As you don't own the copyright in the elements of the covers, you can't prevent anyone else uploading the same image anywhere they wish.

Alamy seem to be saying that they will remove such images if they become aware of them.

 

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