Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome as it turns an article into a discussion. They must, however, be in English to avoid spam getting in here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

copyrights and book covers

Seeing an app that a friend had used had me checking it out. I became intrigued at what it could do in terms of creating a work of art using the computer. The sited used various styles of artistic expression that could transform your photo into a painting. 

The potential is beyond anything I'd previously seen. Gimp produced an oil painting kind of look, but it didn't add the style element. Other photo programs can do that too, but it never satisfied what I thought would be great on a cover. 

So I played with it using images I'd gotten at Stencil. You can probably imagine what I had in mind-- original book covers, in my case for the paranormals. The potential seemed great despite that the images it created were smaller than a book cover would need. This is a free program, but there is one I could purchase. I though had a bigger concern... copyrights. 

One thing I am very cautious about with my work, including this blog-- that whatever I use is open to being used. For book covers, I don't take images from Google but from my own photos or sites I have paid to use-- like Stencil, with a lifetime membership.

"All of the background photos and icons in Stencil are royalty-free and safe to use! In fact, they're under a special public domain Creative Commons license called "CC0". That means you can use these photos however you want. We mean that literally. Personal, commercial, blog posts, posters...anything. Also, there's no attribution required whatsoever!"
As a writer, I've had my books taken by sites that sell them or give them away. You can protest but often they crop up again somewhere else. For writers, like me, who don't make a lot of money anyway, that hurts. As does when someone goes to Amazon, buys an eBook and returns it right away after either reading it or saving it to their hard drive. I imagine they figure what is the writer out? Well, a living is one thing or in my case money that goes toward the grandkids' college educations. So I don't want to cheat anybody else out of their creative work.

After studying Dreamscope's copyright page, I am unsure if it is a program I can use for my covers. It's for fun and private use. I am assuming that covers a blog like this one. If that is not the case, I might hear from them as I am about to give its link here for others who might find it fun. I did write them to ask if there is anyway to use them as the covers. They would be awesome on paranormals, but alas it might be even if they said I could get the license the cost would be above my pay grade.

The lamb was created using the filter they called oil pastel portrait. The blonde beauty was altered with thick oil filter-- and the one below is Picasso I. Use is simple. Find your photo, put it in the box, choose the filter and click the button. They can be put at Pinterest, Facebook, Google, etc. directly from there, or you can save them to your harddrive.



Brig said...

It is interesting learning about new (to me) processes.

joared said...

This is all very interesting. I've never explored free photos available on the Internet that I could use on my blog. Suppose I should and liven up my blog some. I spend too much time on the computer now, anyway, as is. For you with your books and covers makes sense to investigate.

Tabor said...

Stealing photos is a big deal if someone is trying to earn money from it. I was surprised when you wrote that they are not large enough for a book cover! Most camera photos are large enough for that. Does it reduce the size?

Rain Trueax said...

Most that I get from Stencil can be enlarged enough for background and a cover; so the material is there. I think the Dreamscope ones are purposely kept smaller for faster transport or maybe to avoid commercial reuse that they didn't approve. Since you can buy a version that makes them larger, there is probably economic sense to their size.

I was disappointed in the copyright being limited for Dreamscope with no method around it. It could be they haven't thought through all the ways their system could be marketable. I don't really see it for a routine cover so much as the paranormals where their energy could suggest mystery that the covers I am currently using do not.

In doing covers, I always read copyright. The images I buy of people are also limited by some of the creators. Jimmy Thomas is the most generous with his license. Period Images used to allow four uses, now its down to one. When I contacted them for clarification, they said they did it for sites that were pirating their images and reselling them as if their own. Dishonesty ruins it for everyone.

The other interesting thing (to me) on copyright is the creator doesn't always own it. I had wanted to use a bucking horse photo for one of my covers and contacted the photographer. The owner of that one was the newspaper for whom he'd taken it. Same thing happens with music that it often is the publishing house that owns their copyright-- frustrating to them too when they would like control. Many years ago, I contacted one who owned the music to a lyric which I wanted to use a few lines. They got back to me with a price so high that I rewrote the sequence to not need it. That was when I wasn't trying to get the work published, but I still wanted it all to be legit if I ever did. Years later, when I did publish it, I no longer would have felt that lyric fit anyway.

Poetry is the same way. You can use a few words but very little and it's safest to use poetry that is old enough that the rights are open.