Taking pictures to describe a book online

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  • Hello,

    I have an online shop,
    and I sell bonsai picture books.
    Text is japanese, so it is only pictures.

    Because I want to show what is to be expected from the book,
    I take 3 pictures of the inside of the book.

    I don't sell the picutres on its own,
    I want to sell the book, and the pictures are used as a reference.

    Is this a violation of copyrights?

    Thanks in advance,
  • Given the facts presented, I believe this would be fair use. I could be wrong, but I dont' believe Amazon licenses the images they use for each item. I would keep it to a minimum amount of photos. It would be even better if the images were not available to copy or were somehow protected.
  • Good question, Tim.
    First, I think the first answer is good. I like all its thoughts.

    Next, that you are using the material to sell the book, something the copyright owner may like to see happen, doesn't offer you any special protection. There's no guarantee that the owner won't object. There's no assurance that a court won't find you in violation. Still, if I were you, I'd probably take the chance. You could ask for permission from the owners for what you are doing.

    An heir of George Washington published a book (or more than one) with about 6,000 of Washington's letters. The guy wrote a lot! Another writer copied, for educational purposes, about 300 of the letters, less than one percent, yet was found in violation because he had taken the essence of the book and left out things that were not the "heart" of the first book.

    If you do a decent volume of sales, you might go ask a copyright lawyer for his/her formal (paid) opinion. Tell the attorney you wish an answer in one hour, at most, of research, and find out a) how much that will be, and b) whether s/he thinks a decent answer can be had in that much time.
  • If you are selling the books I doubt the "authors" would complain. After all they are receiving royalties. If you were using their pictures for your own content or to sell other products, then I think you might have an issue.

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