Below, I’ve provided a few basic guidelines to help you understand what can and can’t be done with your cover. Please note that I’m not a copyright lawyer and you should not substitute my judgement for your own. If you have questions about licensing, contact the stock photo company and do your own research to verify the information below.
- Unless we’ve specifically discussed it, your artwork is not licensed for commercial use. This means that it’s not legal to use the cover art on merchandise for sale or distribution (even if free) outside of using it as your cover.
- You’re allowed to use the artwork as a cover for your book, which is technically merchandise, because the value of the product is your writing, not the cover. In other words, you’re not selling the art, you’re selling your writing. However, when you create merchandise where the main value is the artwork itself, you’re required to use commercial licenses.
- In addition to using the art as your book cover, you can make personal use of the art (ex. printing a poster for your home). You’re also allowed to use it for advertising and promotional purposes for your book, such as teasers, banners, social media posts, etc.
- In order to create merchandise with your cover on it, you’ll need commercial licensing for every image used on your cover. If you are interested in commercial licensing, I must source images from affordable sites and it’s important to plan for this before the design process begins.
- I always take great care to make sure all the images used in my covers are properly licensed and used within those license guidelines. However, it’s not me who ultimately uses those licenses. Legally, you’re responsible for following the license agreement appropriately and I always recommend reviewing the terms if you are unsure about what constitutes proper use.
- Where images have been used from multiple sites that have differing permissions, you must follow the parameters of the license with more stringent guidelines. For example, if one image allows commercial use and another does not, then the cover cannot be used for commercial purposes at all.
- I source my images from a variety of sites, including DepositPhotos, AdobeStock, iStock, ShutterStock, Freepik (paid only), and Envato Elements.
LICENSING AND USER AGREEMENT
This Licensing and User Agreement (“Agreement”) sets forth the terms and conditions governing the use of cover designs (“Cover Art”) purchased from The Swoonies or Holly Perret (collectively, “Licensor”). By purchasing and using Cover Art, you, the purchaser (“Licensee”), agree to abide by the terms and conditions of this Agreement.
- LICENSING TERMS
Cover Art purchased from Licensor grants Licensee the exclusive right to use the artwork for personal book-related promotional materials only. The copyright for the Cover Art remains with Licensor, and Licensee does not acquire ownership of the Cover Art upon purchase.
Licensee is obligated to provide attribution for the Cover Art in the interior of the book, crediting both the full name of the Licensor and the business name as either “The Swoonies” or “The Swoonies Romance Art.”
Licensee is expressly prohibited from the following:
a. Modifying the final derivative artwork delivered to Licensee, including color changes, title or text alterations, unless explicit permission has been granted by Licensor.
b. Reselling or redistributing the Cover Art.
c. Using the Cover Art for more than one book.
d. Creating a print or audiobook cover from the artwork without purchasing the appropriate licenses.
e. Permitting another designer to make modifications to the Cover Art in any capacity. Exceptions are made for premade covers that do not include title or paperback setup, which may have front, spine, and back of cover text, added by any designer, and may also have book binding and back added for paperback printing. Licensee must ensure that their images were licensed for print use before adding a print cover on their own.
f. Falsely representing Licensor’s Cover Art as your own or another individual’s.
- COMMERCIAL USE
Special licensing is required for commercial use of the Cover Art, such as creating merchandise for sale. Unless otherwise specified as part of the purchase, covers created by Licensor are not generally licensed for commercial use.
If the Cover Art is commercially licensed, please refer to the commercial licensing terms in the next section.
- COMMERCIAL LICENSING TERMS
If the Cover Art has been licensed for commercial use, the Licensee may only use the artwork to create merchandise that promotes the Licensee and the Licensee’s books directly.
The following restrictions apply:
a. Licensee cannot sell merchandise that competes with Licensor’s own use of commercially licensed covers. Merchandise must directly associate with the Licensee’s author business.
b. Creating merchandise that does not display the book title or author name as it appears on the cover and distribute it through a Print on Demand site or any site where the buyer would be unaware of its connection to Licensee as an author or the book that the Cover Art was designed for.
c. Creating journals for sale with the Cover Art, unless the Cover Art was purchased explicitly for this use.
d. Creating fine art prints or poster-sized prints of the artwork that do not display the title and author name as it appears on the cover for distribution under any circumstance.
e. Using sites like Printful to create and sell merchandise. As Licensor uses Printful to sell prints, Licensee should refrain from uploading Licensor’s designs to this site.
All merchandise created with Licensor’s Cover Art must credit “Holly Perret, The Swoonies Romance Art” on the sales page. However, credit is not required on social media posts or elsewhere.
- COMMERCIAL LICENSED COVER USES
With a commercially licensed cover, Licensee can create and sell merchandise displaying the title and author text as it appears on the cover. This includes but is not limited to: Posters, Bookmarks, Face masks, Mugs, Throw blankets, Stickers, Apparel, Accessories, Post cards, Cards, Stationery, Keychains, Buttons, and more.
For any questions or clarifications regarding this Agreement, please contact Licensor via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Agreement shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws applicable in the jurisdiction of the Licensor.
Licensee acknowledges that any breach of its obligations under this Agreement will cause Licensor irreparable injury for which there are inadequate remedies at law, and, therefore, Licensor will be entitled to equitable relief in addition to all other remedies provided by this Agreement or available at law.
The Licensee signifies agreement to these terms by the act of purchasing the Cover Art.