The random—and not so random—musings of a quirky Regency romance writer.
No one with that many people in her head can possibly be normal...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Public Domain and Ethics

I use a lot of pics on my blog that are in the public domain. Honestly, my blog is just a fun little blog where I place my thoughts and ask some questions. (OK, I brag sometimes, too. Who doesn't? And there are those links that offer my books for sale.)

But what if I want to use a public domain pic on one of my book covers? Is that allowed? Is it really an "anything goes" type of thing or do some rules of ethics apply?

Why do I ask? I found the perfect painting for an upcoming Regency. (No, it's not the one pictured here.) I really want to use it. The painting was done in 1795-6 and the artist died in 1835. The pic I found is a faithful representation of that two-dimensional work of art. This qualifies it as public domain and, I believe, would also allow me to use it for my cover, should I choose to do so. Is there an ethical reason why I shouldn't? What do you think?

For that matter, does anyone know of a place I can get high resolution photos of Regency art for free or affordable prices? If not, I will stick to using my own photographs on my covers.

Thank you for your time. As always, happy reading, writing, and blogging!


Bernadette Simpson said...

If it's in the Public Domain, you can use it on your cover. I don't think there's an ethical reason not to. Give credit to the artist and your source (where you got the photo and who took it if that's different than the artist) on your copyright page.

Have you tried the Commons on Wikimedia?! Great source for Public Domain images, as well as images released under other copyleft licenses. I did a quick search and they do have some Regency art images.

Kappa no He said...

Hey Jaimey! Good question. Anything law related is so over my head. I hope you are able to use the photo.


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