Our current copyright policy regarding journal and book covers is to treat them like any other image. We apply Template:Copyright-fairuse along with a name (and website) for the publisher. There are a number of problems with this:
- The same edition of journals and books are sometimes published by multiple publishers.
- The same covers are sometimes used by different publishers (i.e. in different countries). Which one actually owns it?
- Does the publisher own the cover art they use? In cases where they commission the work, I'm sure that they do. However, with Tolkien work especially, publishers will use existing artwork and they probably just pay for the right to use it.
- A lot of publishers have gone out of business (and, as they don't exist, they can't own the copyright) or have merged with other publishers (i.e. George Allen & Unwin still exists but is owned by HarperCollins - I've been working under the assumption, because assumption it is, that HarperCollins owns the copyright to covers like this).
Therefore there's the problem of wrongly attributing ownership to one particular publisher. Furthermore, publishers don't want to hide the covers of their journals or books; indeed customers will decide whether or not to purchase a book based on its cover. Therefore they're not going to be bothered whether or not we state that we're using the covers under terms of fairuse (does Amazon need permission or have to state that they use it under terms of fairuse?). This is why I am starting to think that it's a waste of time having to find out the publisher (with their web address) and to apply Template:Copyright-fairuse.
Should we restore Template:Fairuse-cover? I wanted to discontinue using this template because I didn't see the point having templates which effectively said "this work is owned by its owner, not us". I applied this principle to all images. However, I now think that an updated Template:Fairuse-cover is acceptable for journals and book covers (and games and CDs etc.).
Now, to be clear, when it comes to work by artists my opinion remains unchanged; it is not acceptable for us to use their work without their permission. They're individuals who care where and how their work is used. Indeed to some it's a source of income. That's not to mention the benefit of all the extra and new artwork we're getting (lots of artists have told me that they are working on new Tolkien pieces and will send them to me - a handful have already done this).
I hope that I've communicated my thinking process coherently. What do you think about restoring Template:Fairuse-cover?-- 21:54, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
- Just a thought: I've noticed that many respected blogs and websites, which wouldn't (for example) reproduce a piece of art without prior permission, nonetheless reproduce book covers. Perhaps this is a grey area, perhaps it's just considered fair use. In any case I think we can safely reproduce covers of published works. How does Wikipedia handle this? --Morgan 19:46, 17 September 2012 (UTC)