I decided to do my own book cover for the second book in my series. I found the perfect photo on Shutterstock but I am unsure about the licensing agreements. On other sites they have a way to reach the person who has the copyright to ask permission, and though I can see who holds the copyright on the photo in question I have no idea how to reach them. Is all that necessary? I mean it says you have to reprint over 250,000 copies-If I did that I would be in heaven, but it's doubtful. Has anyone ever used Shutterstock and what can you tell me about their licensing???
I've used them for all six books. I decided that if I ever sell more than 250,000 copies, I'll open the champagne first and worry about it second. if you're concerned though, I believe Shutterstock have a contact number. I'm sure they'll be able to help if you ring them.
You pay Shutterstock. You're then allowed to use the image. When (god willing) you sell over 250,000 copies, you need to go back to Shutterstock and purchase additional licensing (I'm assuming they have a process for that, all the other sites do). Or, you just change your cover at that time to a new picture and start your 250,000 clock ticking again.
There's no permission asking involved. Just paying for the use of the picture you want.
If you're looking for free pictures, Shutterstock (and similar sites) are not where you belong.
There are many avenues for finding legal permissions for images found on the internet.
A few months ago I contacted a local newspaper to find the legal definition for "public domain images" as newspapers commonly use "stock images" for articles.
Another avenue worth noting is, Wikipedia, as they explain copyright legalities for their images, As long as the description states "public domain" you can use the image. All NASA images are completely "public domain" and can be used by anyone at any time, for any purpose. I acquired a great picture from nasa for my next book, I am using it for the cover. Its a group of people silhouetted against a sunset, rendering all individuals in the image unidentifiable. Great for a non fiction book, on evolution.
Thanks for the responses I know it sounded confusing. I guess I was just overwhelmed by all the licensing wording. After months of searching for just the right cover art I thought it was all for not. I appreciate everyone's help! I guess I'll just purchase it and hope for the best.