I am actually pretty certain that Amazon _has_ licensed their covers, 
and particularly from Syndetics.

Where Syndetics gets their covers remains a mystery to me, one I am very 
curious about.


Tim Spalding wrote:
> First, IANAL, obviously.
>> Clearly, publishers own the intellectual property of a cover graphic. Could
>> using thumbnail images of lots of covers in aggregate be considered fair
>> use?  Maybe, the law is not clear (there is some case law to suggest it
>> could be, but it's hardly settled).
> Publishers make their covers available to them and to others because
> they desperately want their covers out there. You can get covers from
> publishers with amazing ease. I do not suspect Amazon or Syndetics
> have licensed the covers in any way.
> LibraryThing asserts no copyright over the images. In most cases,
> copyright rests with the publisher. (In the case of the cover I
> designed for my wife's book, it rests with me; I'll tell you nobody at
> Amazon has asked for my permission—snort!) As such, there are fair and
> unfair uses of the images. Using images in connection with selling
> product is generally considered fair use. That's why you can take a
> picture of your cool decorate skateboard and post it on ebay, but you
> can't make a huge photo of the skateboard and make posters of it.
> Commentary is another fair use harbor. I've never seen OPAC use
> directly mentioned, but I can't imagine it wouldn't fall under it as
> well. If you can show a cover to sell a book, a library can surely
> show a cover to patrons interested in checking it out.
>> Would publishers mind if you are using their intellectual property like
>> this? It's not clear.
> Do publishers sell covers or books?
>> On the one hand, these days everyone thinks they
>> should be getting paid if you are using their IP for anything. On the other
>> hand, _some_ publishers are giving thumbnails for free to Internet Archive.
>> Maybe publishers realize giving you this 'property' to, after all, let you
>> advertise their wares for them, is a good thing. Of course Bowker/Syndetics
>> (and I think Ingram has a cover service too?) don't like free covers because
>> they make money from it. I am very very curious as to what terms Bowker has
>> with the publishers; does Bowker have an _exclusive_ license with the
>> publishers to do certain things?
> No. They don't.
>> How much, if any, do the publishers get
>> paid for Bowker's use of their cover images? Very curious what the business
>> situation is, because that helps us guess how various actors will behave.
> I suspect the answer is nothing. There may be payments on either side
> to make it happen easily.
> Tim

Jonathan Rochkind
Digital Services Software Engineer
The Sheridan Libraries
Johns Hopkins University
rochkind (at)