Question about Copyright Issues with Book Cover Art

Hi!  I'm new to Book Blogs and I'm starting my own book blog so that I can participate in some of the great reading challenges.  I'm curious how people deal with using images of a book's cover art while posting a review.  At what point does it become copyright infringement?  Have any of you had issues with authors requesting that you remove images of their book cover?  Are there any rules to follow to help avoid the copyright issue?  Also, where do you get the image to use for your reviews?

Thanks for any help with this!  I'm really excited to start my blog but with this copyright question unanswered, I've been a little wary to start.


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Hmm... good question. For my reviews, I just grab the cover art from Amazon, and link back to them.

I hope someone in the know stops by this thread though. I'm suddenly worried I've been breaking some law!
I didn't mean to frighten you. I've been following book blogs for a while and I haven't heard of anyone getting in trouble for using the images. I'm just curious about other blogger's experiences.
I use covers from LibraryThing. I've never heard of anyone getting into trouble for using book covers on their blog (and obviously plenty of people do it all the time). On the other hand, I tend not to read blogs that don't feature covers in their review posts. I like to see what the book looks like!
LibraryThing looks like a great resource for book cover art. I figured most people didn't have a problem with it. I agree with you about not wanting to read a blog post if their isn't any cover art. Thanks for the input!
I use Shelfari to display books I'm reading along the side of my blog and then I take my own pictures of book covers to use in the actual posts.

I've also considered the copyright issue, but so many people use book covers in their posts I think I'm being a little paranoid about it.
Well here are the technically items

If you are posting a review with-out the author / publishers knowledge and they did not send you a review copy or give you any kind of permission and it is a NEGATIVE review they can by law ask you to not only remove the cover image but the title of the book and the publishers name as they hold the copyright to those items. If it is a positive review or a neutral review you can use everything (except text from the book) as you want because of the fair use law (

If you use images from you are "technically" infringing on Amazon's copyrights. The publisher grants Amazon the right to use the images in and affiliate programs where it is made known that Amazon is hosting the image. By you taking the image from amazon with-out making it known that Amazon is hosting the image you are infringing on that agreement the Publisher and Amazon have. Now will Amazon go after you? More than likely not, but could the Publisher? Yes. Again this is if the Publisher or Author is crazy or you did something on your blog to really make them mad (such as making an entire website dedicated to bashing them or their product)

Now more often than not your posts and usage of the images fall under the fair use. You are not actively attacking and you are not making money off of their copyrighted work. However it is always a good policy to respect the authors and or publishers wishes as it is good policy for them to do like wise.
Seems to me that if using the cover art with a 5 or 4 or 3 star (positive/neutral) review is considered "fair use", it would still be fair use even if the review is 1 or 2 star (negative).
With fair use the two things you have to think of all the time is

1) The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes

2) The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

The second one is where most people get in trouble. Using copyrighted information that negativity impacts a product or company name or logo etc. with-out permission does not fall under the fair use clause of the copyright law. Also using logos, products, etc. and making them seem like your own also does not fall under the fair use clause as well. Where the copyright clause gets fuzzy is criticism from news or critiquing organizations is allowed however when the law was written blogs were not considered news/critiquing organizations and still are not. Mainly where you will see companies going after you for copyright infringement is when you have an entire website dedicated to bashing them. You small blog with your one star review to them is small potatoes.

Most of the time though when people do reviews, the publisher or author gives them a review copy. By doing that the publisher is giving permission to the reviewer to use the name, the cover, and even small excepts from the book to make their point. Make sure you save the email though where they request it because if you delete it and then they claim copyright infringement you are the one who will lose.

The run down on fair use law can be found here -

The complete law can be found here - starting at page nine

In the end if you want to post a review just do it and post it how you want. If you get an email from a company stating that you are infringing on a copyright, remove what needs to be removed.


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