Magazine and Book Covers

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Magazine and Book Covers

Post by Kinloch »

Is it acceptable for a public library to post photographs/videos on their social media site of the magazine covers and books available to borrow.
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Re: Magazine and Book Covers

Post by AndyJ »

Hi Kinloch,

When you use the word 'acceptable' it seems to invite a value judgement rather than an examination of what the law says. I will discuss what the law says if you don't mind, and leave it others to decide if it is acceptable!

The simple answer is that there is no specific exception which would allow this use of what we must assume is copyright material, namely book and magazine covers. That said, it is widely accepted practice amongst publishers to allow such images to be used without necessarily getting permission in each case. This would seem to be based on expediency since it may help sell more copies of the actual book or magazine etc. There are two underlying exceptions which may have influenced the growth of this practice even though neither strictly applies to the practice as you describe it. The first is the exception for criticism or review (section 30(1)) which would permit the inclusion of a picture of, say, the cover of a book which was being reviewed. And the second exception (found in section 63) is for the purpose of illustrating adverts and sale catalogues, like the image of a cover you might find on Amazon beside the listing for a book title.

And of course it is perfectly possible that the library concerned has obtained a wide ranging licence to make copies of this sort, so it doesn't necessrily mean they are actually infringing anyone's copyright.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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