Images and Fair Use

I’m currently developing a book cover design blog to add to what I do on Patreon. Obviously, in order to do this I need to use pictures of book covers. So, I’m wondering: is this something I would need permission to do, or is it covered by fair use? Is there anyone out there in a similar position?

The problem would seem to be that use of these images on Patreon is commercial. I’d be making money, indirectly, from use of other people’s images. Fair use does cover criticism and review, but I’m not sure how this fits with the commercial aspect.

Anyone have any ideas?



I’m not sure about the fair use part but if you’ve got a camera and a few other books/reading-like props – make a little set on a desk or a bookshelf and take some photos of the books! Then you can definitely use the photos since you took them :wink: and you’ll have the option of landscape or portrait-oriented photos, rather than just portrait if you used the book cover image alone.

Thanks for the suggestion, Trevor. Yes, that would be a good idea for physical copies of the books. However, it would be nice to comment on designs for books I didn’t personally own. I’m hoping this is covered by fair use.

Wikipedia uses a lot of covers, movie posters, etc., in low-res images under fair use: judging from the fact that they haven’t been sued by a bazillion people, that’s probably safe. On the other hand, the book’s cover is promo for the contents; you’d be in trouble if you made an obvious adaptation for use on your own book. But: I’M NOT A LAWYER!