Photographing images in books

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Photographing images in books

Post by philco »

Hi - I've had a look through this forum and whilst packed full of excellent advice, I couldn't quite find the answer I was looking for.

My question is: if I was to photograph either the cover or inner pages of a book, could I then use my photograph and reproduce this on an item to resell? Would the age of the book in question make any difference?

Any information would be very gratefully received.
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Post by AndyJ »

Hi Philco,
Photographing a book cover, or text and phototgraphs within a book is classed as copying. The fact that the primary work is being reproduced in a different medium does not change this fact. So if the original book is in copyright, copying it in this way would be infringement. Obviously if the book is out of copyright then there is probably no infringement. Just one small word of caution on that, though. Any photographs within a book carry copyright which is seperate from the copyright in the text, and the term of each copyright is determined by the dates of death of the photographer and author respectively, plus 70 years. So you could have a situation where the author of the book died at the age of forty, while the photographer lived to the age of seventy, and thus the copyright in the photographs exceeds that of the book by an extra 30 years.

To copy a page or two of text in the way you propose might not infringe copyright if the amount involved was insubstantial. For instance copying the title page and publication details in order to identify the particular edition would probably be perfectly OK. Likewise, if you only intended to use a photograph of the book cover for advertising purposes - say to offer the book for sale on eBay for instance - this would probably be acceptable to the publishers, but it would not be acceptable to sell the images you make without getting permission for works that are still in 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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