Can libraries scan book covers for their OPACs?

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  • A library just migrated to a new OPAC, but didn't have the funds to pay for cover art through the vendor.  The director wants to know if there are copyright issues if she would scan book covers and add them herself?  I know covers were available at one time through LibraryThing, but that information I found is now 10 years old. 

  • In my opinion, this would be legal. You do own the book and a copy of the cover art. It's certainly not harmful to the book or its market. It this any different than posting book covers for promotional or reading events?

  • Here you'll be making digital copies of the book covers and displaying them online, so you are taking advantage of two rights (reproduction and display) that are assigned to rightsholders under US copyright law. That said, I think you can definitely consider utilizing fair use for this project. This tool can help you learn more about fair use and work through the four factors to make a determination.

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